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Full text of "Page 6 Magazine Issue 82"

DID YOU KNOW? 



We still have the very best PD library 
for the Atari Classic 

There are over 400 disks available 

Many disks are only £1 .50 each 

Collections and special sets are even cheaper 

EVERY PURCHASE OF A PD DISK 
HELPS TO SUPPORT THE MAGAZINE 

DID YOU REALISE? 

We still have the entire ST library available 

There are over 1 f OOO disks 

Disks are only £1 each 

We will send you details on request 

KEEP SUPPORTING US 
AND WE WILL KEEP SUPPORTING YOU 



Page 6 Publishing' s 




The Resource for the ATARI CLASSIC and the ATARI ST 



Issue 82 January/February 1998 



£2.50 



FOR THE ATARI CLASSIC 




O OBJETD'ART 

Learn a new approach to 
programming 

j» Q COMPUTER INTELLIGENCE 

I * The emergence of language 

Q plus .... the true story 
of Atari's last days! 



M M SCENE 



EMULATING THE 
8-BIT ON A PC 

PICTURES FROM MARS! 



?** 






u.mupu,. i '*m^r*T* 




PLUS ... ATARI AT THE MOVIES ...RS232 REVISITED ... PQ LIBRARY AWfTI0N$,„ THE TIPSIER „ AHD MORE! 




ThCLTlfCS 



Les Bllingham puts it all together and fills 
up the gaps but the real thanks goes to the 
following who made this Issue possible 

Sandy Elltngham who takes care of all the 
office vw>rk, advertising and mail order 



For their contributions 
Joel Goodwin 
John Foskett 
David Surgeon t 
Donald A Thomas Jr 
Dean Garraghty 
James Mathriek 
Ann O'Driscoll 
Austin Hillman 



this issue 

Daniel Bowers foe k 

John S Davison 

Pete Davison 
. HSWood 

Paul Bram ley 

John Hull 

Alan Milne 

Graeme Fenwick 



JkF*OL*OGIE>& 



1 am still extremely poor In acknowledging 
contributions so 1 apologise to everyone 
who has sent in stun and thought it has 
gone through i he wurmholc. The intention 
to reply to everyone Is there hul the time 
seems to drift By. If you have not heard, 
thank you ami keep watching (he mag, you 
might be surprlFiedr. 

HOW ITS DONE 

PAGE C shows just what you can do with your Atari. 
NEW ATARI USRR has always been created entirely with 
Atari equipment, initially on the XL but nwre lately with 
a Mcfli ST and Other sluir". who needs PC's or Macs? 
Hardware includes a Megti -ST2 {upgraded to 4Mb), 
SM 1 3S Monitor, Supra 30Mb Hard Disk, a I IP Laserjet 
111. Citizen 124D printer. Philip* CMRKW monitor, 
130XE a couple of 1050 disk drives, 850 interface, NEC 
8023 printer. Principal software used Is Pretext and 
Fleet Street Publisher 3.0. Other software includes Her- 
mit, TariTalk, Turbo Basic and various custom written 
program- 1 ? on th« XL/XE. Articles submitted Dn XL/XE 
disks are transferred across to the ST via TARITALK- 
Programs are coded on the XE and printed out directly 
for pasting in after die typesetting Is completed All 
major editing is done with Protejct ,ind pages an laid out 
with Fleet Street Publisher. Each page is output directly 
from Fleet Street lo a HP LaserJet 111 which produces 
finished pages exactly as you see them, All that Is left Is 
to drop In the listings and photos, 

Well, it's not quite as easy as that but you get the Ideal 



Inspiration 



l can't remember what the Inspiration was 
when J first started thin issue back in Septem- 
ber but durirxg the uteek in which this was 
completed. I was listening mostly to .... Celine 
Dion. Yes, i know it is not my normal fare but. I 
had. a tenner given me at Christmas and when 
wandering into Our Price was ifrtrigited to see 
that the itew Celine Dion CD had the theme 
/rom Titanic on it and i had a listen. It was 
surprisingly like something Enya or Clannad 
might do and so I took the plunge. Apart Jrom 
one track which I have to skip every time i 
have been quite taken by the album, even 
(especially?) the duet with Barbara Streisand. 
Barbara Streisand? I must be gettli\g old! 



CONTRIBUTIONS 

Without contributions from its readers, NEW 
ATARI USER would not be possible. PAGE 6 
welcomes and encourages its readers to sub- 
mit, articles, programs and revileurs/or publi- 
cation.. Programs mast be submitted on disk 
or cassette, articles should wherever possible 
be submitted as text files on disk. We seek to 
encourage your participation and do not 
have strict rules/or sidrtnissifirts. If some- 
thing interests you, unite a program or arti- 
cle and submit it! 



COPYRIGHT 

All original articles,, programs and other material in 

NEW ATARI USER remain the copyright or the au- 
thor as credited. All uncrcillled material is copyright 
PAGE 6. Permission must be sought by anyone 
wishing lo republish any material Whilst we take 
whatever steps we Can to ensure the accuracy of 
articles, and programs and the contents of advertise- 
ments, PAGE 6 cannot lie held liable for any errors 
or claims made by advertisers, 

ATARI rTW. is a registered trederrV** 01 ATARI CORP. All 
references should be so noted, NEW ATARI USER i* W* 
independent publication end hu* no connection with Atari or 
with any alher company or publisher. 




Editorial address: P.O. Box 54, SlaftorrJ, ST16 1DR, ENGLAND Tel. 01785 241153 
Editor i Publisher: Les Ell Ingham ■ Advertising: Sandy Ellingham 
Page layoul by PAGE 6 - Printed by Dolphin Press, Fife, Scotland 01592 771652 
NEW ATARI USER is published bi-monthly on the last Thursday of the month prior to cover date 



PAGE 6 PUBLISHING'* 



A JAR" CONTENTS 



EU3 

'The Magazine for the 
Dedicated Atari User' 

ISSN No. 0956-7705 



Issue 82 - Jan/ Feb 1998 



REGULARS 




EDITORIAL 


4 


NEWS 


S 


MAILBAG 


6 


DISK BONUS 


17 


SPACE FIGHTER 




THE TIPSTER 


26 


CLASSIC PD ZONE 


37 


THE ACCESSORY SHOP 


and PD LIBRARY 


41 


ST PD ROUNDUP 


44 


CONTACT 


IBC 



PROGRAMMING 

OBJET D'ART 

Take a new approach in programming 

NEWTON'S SQUARE ROOT 



10 
IS 



FEATURES 



DID YOU HEAR ANYONE SAY 
GOODBYE? 

What really happened in Atari's tost days 

ATARI AT THE MOVIES 

Bidding far Oscar nominations? 

RS232 REVISITED 

A more comprehensive guide 

COMPUTER INTELLIGENCE 

The emergence of language programs 

JOURNEY INTO CYBERSPACE 

Emulating the Atari 8-bit on a PC 

REVIEWS 

AMS VIDEO 



COPY DEADLINE FOR NEXT ISSUE * 2nd MARCH 



20 
25 
31 
34 
49 



48 



MAGAZINE ONLY 

Annual subscript ion rales (6 issues) 

UK £15.00 

Europe (Air Mail) £17.00 

Elsowlwe (Surface) £17.00 

Elsewhere (Air Mail) £23,00 

Qv0rs&3s rales ratlaci ortSy fria difference in 
postal cosis 



DISK SUBSCRIPTION 

A dish combining all of the B-bll programs I rom each 
issue erf NEW ATARI USER is available either separate- 
ly or on subscription. Single price £2.95 per disk, a 
disk subscription saves you almost f 3 a year. Sub- 
scription rates (G issues) 

UK £25.00 

Europe £32.00 

Elsewhere (sea) £32.00 

Elsewhere (Air) £42.00 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Please make cheques payable to PAGE 6 PUBLISHING and send ta 
PAGE B Publishing, P.O. Box 54, Stafford, STI 6 IDR 



editorial 



At last we are back with a new issue and a new year. ] 997 was a nightman- year for many 
personal reasons and 1 hope that this coming year wlO be better - a tot better! 
The major problem last year in getting issues of NAU together was simply Lack of time. A 
few years ago we could rely on the magazine and The Accessory Shop to make a bit of money to 
pay the bills but in the past eighteen months it has has only just paid for itself with nothing to 
spare. This made It crucial to find other areas to make a living and in 1996 1 began doing craft 
fairs selling items that I make from different types of wood. As 1997 approached we decided to give 
this a go big time and so booked craft fairs for virtually every weekend in the following year. 
Although this meant having to produce stock every week I was sure that there would be limes 
when 1 would catch up and could spare a week or so for a new issue of the magazine. It didn't 
work like that] 

Because craft fairs are so expensive to do (sometimes over £150 a stand) I was under pressure 
each week to ensure that we had enough goods to sell each weekend. This meant that I was out in 
the shed from about nine in the morning till eight at night on Monday to Wednesday. Thursday 
was a finishing' day In which I needed the morning to start the process and was often up past 
midnight to finish off. Friday, in theory, was my day off but in practice was spent finishing off last 
minute things before the weekend's craft fair. This was often in some far flung place and so we 
often didn't even make it home on Saturday, Then the week would begin again. Occasionally 1 did 
have some spare time but things that I could not avoid then sprang up like my mother dying and 
having to spend almost a week fixing the car to get it through the MOT. That was what jinxed this 
issue. I actually did most of the work on this one back In September and only needed three or four 
days to finish it but then I had to do the car (else I couldn't do the craft fairs} and after that there 
simply wasn't one spare day until Christmas. It gets hectic in the run up to Christmas with the 
chance to make up for some of the losses earlier in the year. If 1 was making a fortune at this craft 
business I could afford to take a break now and then but it isn't like that with a constant, pressure 
to try and make sure that next week's fair makes up for the bad one last week. I can just about 
scrape a living out of it. 

This year I hope things will be different. In planning our craft fairs we have deliberately left a free 
weekend every two months so that I have a lull week and the weekend in which to do a new issue 
of the mag. Hopefully this will get us back on our regular, and intended, bimonthly schedule. In 
between these times, however, I will be working seven days a week with little, or no, time to spend 
preparing for the next issue, ft will all have to be crammed into that one week, llxis is where I 
need your heip. On the contents page you will see a copy deadline for the next issue. If you 
intend to send in a contribution, or if you write regularly, please ensure that it reaches me by this 
date, 1 will not have time to remind you until its too late. Even better would be to send stuff well in 
advance. Do two or three columns or a couple of articles so that 1 don't have to worry about 
coming issues. You have no idea what sort, of relief there is in knowing that 1 have plenty of 
contributions 'in the bag'. If you do not usually contribute then you can help by renewing your 
subscription as quickly as possible so that I don't have to worry about sending reminders or be 
concerned about how many copies of 'the next issue 1 need. It makes a big difference to know ihat 
readers are sticking with us and eveiy renewal that comes in spurs me on to ensuring the mag 
continues. I have said before that them is no need to worry about future issues, when the time 
comes 1 will give you notice so that you don't waste your money. 

1 am doing my best tills year to get back on track, giving up six potential money-earning craft 
fairs to get your magazine to you, Please do your best to help me out in the ways outlined above. If 
you buy a few more PD disks this year that will be a great help in making up some revenue I 
might lose at the craft fairs. It's going to be tough but 1 am sure that we can do it together. 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Les ( £llin$fiam 








A\m 







NOSAUG NO 
MORE ... 



Stuart Murray has finally decided to call it a 
day with Issue 21 of FUTURA issued in Octo- 
ber of last year. 

After a good number of years supporting the 
Atari community with a fine disk magazine 
Stuart has found that increasing work com- 
mitments and producing a regular issue of 
Futura don't go hand in hand, His spare time 
now is going to be taken up enjoying all the 
Atari Classic software he has accumulated 
over the years - software he has hardly had 
the time to play! 

Stuart is not abandoning the Atari scene and 
may well contribute the occasional article to 
NAU in the future. 



BUT FUTURA STILL 
AVAILABLE 



Although no future issues of FUTURA are 
planned, Stuart Murray has given us permis- 
sion to include all past issues In the PAGE 6 
LIBRARY. If you have missed an issue or two, 
or indeed have not partaken of the delights of 
FUTURA you can now get back issues from 
The Accessory Shop at regular prices. Check 
out the regular order forms and update your 
collection. 



VIDEO GAME 
CLASSICS 



if you still have an Atari 2600 or 7800 then 
there is a chap in the States that might Just 
have some software you have never seen be- 
fore. Frank Polosky puts out an occasional 
catalogue of some very interesting ROM car- 
tridges for various Video Game systems that 
includes a dozen each for the 2600, 7AO0 and 
5200, 

Perhaps more interesting to most of our 
readers is that be also has 15 ROMs listed for 
the Atari 400/800. Most of these seem to be 
Atari's old chestnuts like Centipede, Missile 
Command and Pole Position but he also has 
Astrochase, Buck Rogers, Qix arid Return of 
the Jedi listed. The ROMs are S 14.95 each 
with $3 overseas postage for the Brst item and 
S2 per item thereafter. Payment has to be 
made by International Money Order as he 
does not seem to take credit cards. 

Perhaps the best bet is to get in touch and 
ask for a copy of his latest catalogue. Contact 
Frank M Polosky. PO. Box 9542. Pgh PA 
15223, USA. The phone number listed is 
(412) 7841 -224 1, evenings only 5pm to 8pm 
Eastern Standard Time. You need to add a 
00 1 prefix from the UK and the UK time 
equivalent is Noon to 3pni- 

Frank is also interested in buying or trading 
old VCS carts, so if you have any get in touch, 
it could be better than taking thern down the 
Car Boot sale I 



NEW ATARI USER/PAGE 6 BACK ISSUES 

Due to lack of storage space we have had a major sort out of back issues and now have only a very 
few left. All issues from Issue 31 up to date are still available (except issues 32 and 35) but we have 
as little as FIVE COPIES ONLY of the earlier issues and only around TWENTY copies of the more 
recent ones. If you want them,, check the Order Form now for they will soon be gone forever. 



Page 6s New Atari User 



5 






Mailbag 




This issue's 
Mailbag 
conducted by 
Les Bllingham 



PC CONNECTION 

We start this issue's Mailbag 
with a mix of support and cri- 
acismfrom H S Wood of Brad- 
ford who says-. "It is surpris- 
ing that there have not been 
any letters to Mailbag be- 
cause I wrote before Christ- 
mas [1996] about the prog- 
ramming of PIC's and the let- 
ter has not been published 
and I have not had an ack- 
nowledgement. Perhaps it 
went astray . 

We need some new ideas if 
we are to keep NAU in print 
and 1 thought that PIC's 
might be one possibility. Cur- 
rently PIC's are the province 
of PC's which is a pity be- 
cause the 8-blt computers 
arc quite capable of program- 
ming them. Several articles 
are written in Electronics 
magazines for clocks, 
keyboard controllers etc. but 
one has to have a PC, Also, if 
the technical information is 
to be obtained, the disks sup- 

6 



plied are 1.44 Mb which rules 
out the simpler (cheaper) 
PC's. Mnd the chance ofread- 
foo them on on ST. Ed.} 

NAU should realise that a 
lot of time is spent in compil- 
ing information for projects 
such as the above and it is 
very discouraging to be 
ignored] More than that to 
be continually informed that 
Vrtthoutyour support NAU 
will cease to be' is adding in- 
sult to injury. 
Another way forward is to 
use an emulator so that Atari 
programs can be used on a 
PC. This was mentioned in 
issue 81 by Richard Gore and 
I have also been testing it 
out Where are the articles 
about this very exciting prop- 
osition? Like Richard I would 
be pleased to exchange notes 
about emulators with anyone 
who is interested. 

Although 1 have a wry cap- 
able PC, I still prefer my 9-bit 
for letter writing. I am writing 
this letter using WRITE 
which was published In NAU 
some time ago. WRITE does 
not spew out endless blank 
sheets when printing and it is 
not necessary to preset the 
number of sheets. The prog- 
ram stops when all the text 
has been printed, 
i have done some work on a 
PC to Atari interface which 
currently will transfer files 
from the PC to the Atari but 
not the other way round. This 
Page B's New Atari User 



had to be abandoned due to 
my wife's illness and my 
brother's death, however 
there seems to be some in- 
terest so I will restart as soon 
as possible. 

As a final note to your read- 
ers. Has anyone found my 
two Monitors useful and 
what about the Discnote 
program? You readers do not 
deserve bes's dedication if 
you do not put pen to paper." 
t All letters addressed to 
Mailbag are put straight into 
a special Mailbag tray on the 
day they are received and the 
tray is retrieved as J start a 
tvcU) issue, so il does look as 
if your letter was not re- 
ceived, Mr Wood - sorry. New 
ideas are needed, certainly, 
and new articles and new 
programs but I do have diffi- 
culty in judging just how 
much interest there is in the 
interaction: of Atari and PC- 
Many oftfxe letters / receive 
from readers who do not wish 
to renew their subscriptions 
statse that they have bought a 
PC and disposed of their Atari 
equipment 1 very seldom get 
tetters from readers to tell me 
that they have bought a PC 
and kept their Atari. Perhaps 
afeiv mare people should 
write. We will touch upon the 
PC/ Atari connection from time 
to time • in fact much of John 
Davison's column this issue 
mentions impossibilities of 
running Atari software on a 




PC - but 1 do need to knouj 
}\aw much interest then? is. If 
I fill the magazine with arti- 
cles that only a dozen people 
read then it will do more 
harm than good. Does the 
possibility of hooking up to a 
PC excite you or bore you? Let 
us know one way or another. 



MICE 

Paul Bramleyjram sunny Au- 
stralia (at least it should be 
sunny as I type this with 
freezing fingers!) has a couple 
of questions about a tvell 
known computer rodent; 

"Recently I purchased an 
Atari ST, In issue 79, i saw 
the bonus disk contained a 
program to use the mouse. In 
know The Brundles makes 
use of a mouse but could 
you, or any other reader, tell 
me of any other program that 
could use a mouse on the 
Atari 8 -bit? 

] also know that an IBM 
mouse can be converted over 
to be used on an ST or fi-bit., 
Perhaps you could include 
the connections required to 
do so in future editions, plus 
commands to control the 
mouse." 

T Well there's another PC 
connection already! I have to 
admit tixat J never use a 
mouse on the 8-blt so I ha 
ven't paid much attention to 



what programs might be 
available. There are people 
who use a mouse, so let's 
have some answers from you, 
even If to say that you have 
riot found any other programs 
at all' 



BACKING UF 
CARTS 

John Hull from Merseyside 
has three questions to ask: 
You have a disk that will 
transfer files or games to 
Disk or Cassette, Is there a 
disk that will transfer video 
cartridges to Disk? As we all 
know wear and tear does 
happen. I try not to use my 
ROMs too often but it would 
be good if I can transfer then 
over to disk so then 1 can put 
the cartridges away for 
another day. 

Secondly, when I got my 
second Atari 800XL 1 watch- 
ed somebody transfer Star 
Raiders from cassette to disk 
by using Master Diskette 3. I 
forgot how he did It. Can you 
or someone out there shine 
some light on this one 
please? 

Thirdly, I have seen some. 
files with text in data. Can 
you tell me how this is done 
because I have tried the same 
many times and failed." 

I Transfer o/ROMs to disk 
Page 6's New Atari User 



has been done many times in 
the past but I can't recall 
whether specially modified 
drives are needed* There are 
certainly programs in the Pub- 
lic Domain which claim to do 
this but 1 have not tried them 
out In the past an article on 
this sort of thing would not 
have been published due to 
the piracy problem but times 
have changed and there Is 
now a genuine need to back 
up all sorts of things and a 
need to sltore the in/t?rm<stton 
on how to do so, A i though 
some software is still avail- 
able, the chances of finding a 
replacement copy of most 
programs is uirtualiy nfl, so 
we all need to know houj to 
safeguard our software In- 
vestment. Let's have an in- 
depth article on backing up 
ROMs and disks, it's one of 
the few things on the Atari 
scene thai we have not yet 
covered. 



BACK TO BASIC 

Here's an easy one for some- 
one to ansioerjrom Al-an 
MSne in New Zealand: "I have 
a problem that you may be 
able to sort out concerning 
using Machine Language 
subroutines in BASIC prog- 
rams. I know how to start 
them off, but how do you 
stop them so that BASIC can 



m 




take over again. One routine 
is the 3D STARS from ANA- 
LOG 16 (I don't have the 
magazine to refer to.) 
Also does anyone know how 
to modify the XF551 disk 
drive so that it can format the 
second side of disks as my 
1050 has died." 
T As the only way to access 
the second side of a disk on 
the 1050 is to flip the disk 
over and either use a write- 
protect (disable) switch, or cut 
a notch in the disk, ! assume 
you need help cdong these 
lines. If cutting a natch in the 
disk does not work then the 
XF551 must use the timing 
hole on the disk but J would 
be surprised if that ts the 
case. I used to have an 
XF551 drive but it died fairly 
rapidly so S hardly got to 
know it, but someone out 
there stGl uses one and 
should knoLu the anstuer to 
this problem. As to the 
machine code problem, 1 am 
sure one of our programming 
wizard readers wil provide 
the answer. 



SOME IDEAS 

Graeme Fenwickfrom Dun' 
dee has probably forgotten he 
wrote this letter to Mailhag as 
it was tucked on the bock of 
another Setter and has only 

8 



Just came to light Sorry, 
Graeme, let's know hear your 
ideas: " I've not done much 

with my Atari Classic in. the 
past year or so (halving spent 
an unusually high amount of 
time on it just before that - 
perhaps it's bum-out!), so 1 
decided to mention a couple 
of things which other Atari 
users might be interested in. 

For example how about a 
FREE scanner? Well, not 
quite, but you might be sur- 
prised that an Atari 1020 
plotter with a light sensitive 
resistor and some suitable 
software can do Just that, 
Okay the quality really sucks 
[contrast way too high, light- 
ing's got to be right, sensor 
keeps falling off!) and it's 
pretty fuzzy, but for anyone 
who's interested a photo-re- 
sistor of - 500 W should do 
the job once its sensitivity 
h as been dampened down 
and any extraneous light ex- 
cluded. To be honest, you'll 
have to experiment I could 
write an article about it but 
the idea needs refining (so 
does the software [), 

Of course, you'll need to 
connect your resistor across 
potentiometer pins and write 
the software to move the 
head [which the sensor's 
attached to ... scanning sec!) 
and plot the resulting bright- 
ness. Again, it's probably 
best to experiment with re- 
Page 6's New Atari User 



solution, brightness and so 
on, 

A word oT warning though - 
a wrong connection to your 
Atari could prove hazardous 
to its health and sellotaping 
things to your printer head is 
a precarious idea at the best 
of times. Make suie you 
know what you are doing - 1 
can't be held liable for any 
Atari -related accidents. 

I know the details are a bit 
vague, but it's just an idea, 
nothing more, Give it a go! 

Also, given the copyright 
discussion going on Just now 
regarding software, couldn't 
the same be said of books? 
There must be plenty or Atari 
text that could go on the Net. 
if it's not already there -use- 
ful but rare stuff like De Re 
Atari. 

As far as the Atari bug goes 1 
may be bitten again soon, or 
it may not be for years, with 
just occasional games of 
Elektraglide, Shamus, NYC 
and Pro Mountain Bike 
Simulator (a hidden gem, 
particularly in 2-player 
mode). 

Now that I look this letter 
over I realise I should have 
word -processed it. so I'll sign 
off with an apology to whoev- 
crs editing Mailhag this issue 
- sorry!" 

T It's okay, Graeme, thanks 
for taking the time to write. 




FINALLY ... WRITE! 

Lang Lime supporter Joel 
Goodwin wrote almost im- 
mediately he received Issue 
81 and had this to say: "I'd 
Uke to open this letter by 
offering my sympathies to Les 
In light of his recent loss, Les 
has always "been there" for 
the UK Atari community. I'm 
sure the has lost count of the 
hours that he has dcvoljcd to 
Page 6 /New Atari User, espe- 
cially these days when the 
Atari scene is more of a vil- 
lage than a metropolis and it 
is a lot harder to scrape 
together a full issue. Now 
would be the right time to be 
there" for Les, I imagine (he 
pressure would be less ifLes 
had a few more articles or 
letters to print, I'd like to ask 
everyone to try and write a 
letter or an article for MALI, 
because without contribu- 
tions the UK's longest run- 
ning Atari magazine will fold 
earlier than it should. I'm 
guessing that I'm not the only 
one whodlike to sec the 
100th issue! 

Everyone has something un- 
ique to say or contribute, I'm 
sure that even your experi- 
ences on other computers in 
contrast to that on your own 
Atari would be welcome. Did 
you enjoy any articles you 
read? If so, why? Did you not 



enjoy any articles? There's 

plenty of room for feedback In 
Mailbag. I'm surprised we 
don't see more. However, 1 
know' that a lot of readers 
don't have much time to 
spare. Believe me, I really 
know how little "quality time" 
is usually available for the 
Atari computer that cries out 
for attention In the comer of 
your front room. A letter 
won't take long and, as Ijes 
has previously stated, It 
doesn't have to be a work of 
art. As long as it's got a point 
[mind you, there might be 
some flexibility here) and 
your handwriting is legible!!] 
then please write it and send 
it to MAU. 

We can all moan about the 
price or delays between 
issues, but New Atari User is 
put together by, essentially, 
just two people; Les and 
Sandy Ellingham, No-one 
likes to blow sheir own trum- 
pet, so I'll do it for them, it's 
no easy task to put together 
something which looks so 
professional on a regular 
basis. If anything, we should 
be surprised by the fact that 
we get so much in return for 
our subscription. This isn't 
Fleet Street, The magazine is 
only as good as its contribu- 
tions. If you don't contribute 
then don't, complain. There 
aren't many Atarians left; if 
we lose NAU then we lose a 
Page G's New Atari User 



John Bull's 
TOP TEN 

BEST GAMES 

1 F- 15 Strike Eagle 

2 Silent Service 

3 Gato 

4 Tank Commander 

5 Final Legacy 

6 Battalion Commander 

7 Star Raiders II 

S Rescue on Fractulas 

9 Zybex 

10 Mr Do 

vital line of communication 
within the UK Atari commun- 
ity. None of us can stand 
back and bliime others Tor 
dwindling support. We are 
that support." 
* Many thanks. Joel JVo 
fiuiher comment needed. 

That's it for this issue. If you 
have read this far, you know 
what to do. The address is: 

MAILBAG 

NEW ATARI USER 

P.O. BOX 54 

STAFFORD 

ST16 1DR 



9 




PROGRAMMING 



OBJET D'ART 



Joel Goodwin 
begins a new 
series of articles 
for programmers 
which will attempt 
to persuade you to 
take a whole new 
approach to 
programming 



1: Old Dogs, 
New Tricks 

Programming can be a pain as much as a Joy 
and even modest projects can Involve sub- 
stantial complexity- Pen arid paper are useful 
allies but sometimes It can take several 
attempts to break down a difficult problem 
Into a comprehensible programming plan. 



This three-part article will Introduce you to 
'Object-Oriented Programming' (OOP), a tech- 
nique used extensively in modern software 
development. OOP handles complexity very 
well and anyone with a serious interest in 
programming should certainly read on. 



JUST FOLLOWING 
PROCEDURE 

NAU readers may know of the programming 
approach known as 'procedural' programming 
(also referred mas 'functional' or structured" 
programming). The Idea is to break up a prog- 
ram Into lots of important subrou lines. This 
makes the program easier Lo write. We can 
concentrate on individual sections of our 
program, test them separately and reuse 
them In other programs. It avoids the so- 
called 'spaghetti' programming where the 
program {low interweaves chaotically making 
debugging and reuse of code very difficult. 
The procedural approach has been extremely 
successful and is supported by any language 
you happen to mention. For example, Basic 
has GOSUB 1 and Turbo Basic has PROC . 
Subroutines work best if you have some way 
of passing them data so that they an: flexible, 
For example, if we have a 'Draw Circle' sub- 
routine, we would like to pass it the centre 
and radius of the circle we wish to draw. 

Even If you don't follow procedural program- 



ming religiously. It is hard to deny that this 
approach is fruitful When some structure 
dominates a program, the development is fas- 
ter due to a reduction in complexity. 1 lowever, 
procedural programming doesn't go far 
enough. It is normally difficult to appreciate 
this without tackling something complex or 
seeing what is possible through a different 
approach. 1 shall try to demonstrate where 
the procedural approach fails. 



WHERE IT GOES 
WRONG 

So we break a program Into separate units 

which can be tested and reused independent- 
ly. However a situation may arise where sev- 
eral procedures need to be interdependent. If, 
for example, we had a collection of graphics 
routines they will need to share data ■ like 
"screen size" and "graphics mode number 1 '. 
This is necessary. To completely avoid inter- 
dependence makes programming a great deal 
more difficult and could result in a severe loss 
of efficiency. A line docs need tu be drawn, 
though, between how much of this blurring of 
subroutine borders is good and how much is 
bad. Too much gets us back to spaghetti 
programming. Simply breaking up the prog- 
ram into subroutines does not solve every 
programming dilemma. Something more Is 
needed lo formalise subroutine interdepend- 
ence. 

Another problem with the procedural 
approach Is that it does not do enough to 
dissuade the programmer from, over-optimisa- 
tion. A Fast program is the primary goal for 
many programmers but optimisation can 
force subroutines to be strongly dependent on 
one another and, even worse, cause several 
subroutines to coalesce Into one. Despite the 
obvious structural difficulties this introduces, 



optimisation Is usually very tempting. 

Suppose we were writing a game with a 
monster and a player moving around the 
screen. Now we might write a MONSTER- 
_MOVE and a PIJVYER_MOVE routine, with a 
supporting PLOT routine. After a while, it 
appears that It would be better to write dedi- 
cated MONSTER_MQVE_PLOT and PLAY- 
ER_MOVE_PLQT routines, discarding the idea 
of a separate PLOT routine. This way perform- 
ance Is improved and the program will run 
faster. This doesn't sound like a bad thing 
immediately, but look at what we've done. 
Firstly, we end up writing the PLOT routine 
twice which also means there is twice as 
much opportunity for errors. Secondly, the 
resulting MONSTER/ PLAYER routines arc 
more complicated and will be harder to 
debug. Previously we could have tested the 
PLOT and MOVE routines separately but now 
larger chunks of code need to be tested. 
Thirdly, we might find that the game is 
actually boring with just one monster and 
need to add several more. For each monster, 
we now have to rewrite the PLOT routine 
because we have lost the flexibility offered by 
maintaining an independent PLOT routine. It 
is better to keep our options open; we may 
even find that the PIjOT routine is good 
enough to use In future programs. 

This example highlights the dangers of 
optimisation and interdependence in general: 

^ Longer development time 
& Debugging is more difficult 
♦ High inflexibility /reusability 

Speed should not be the top priority - a 
working program should be. Admittedly, 
speed may become an issue, especially when 
using Basic, but for a fast language or 
machine language itself, speed should always 
be a secondary consideration. Modem soft- 
ware development is extremely complex and 
to sacrifice structure in favour of performance 
is potentially disastrous. Of course, there is 



lo 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Page 6's New Atari User 



11 



II 






only so much complexity that can be Imple- 
mented on the humble 8-bit Atari but the 
design methodologies of modem program- 
ming can be Just as beneficial. 



A MATTER OF 
PERSPECTIVE 

Generally, programming is a process which 
forces the programmer to think like the com- 
puter. Subroutines are a handy way of reduc- 
ing complexity but the whole thing is still very 
abstract, it makes little difference to the 
psychology of the process, People do not think 
naturally In terms of subroutines, 

To demonstrate this, think of the television. 
It has inputs - power, channel, volume and so 
on. It has outputs - the screen and the speak- 
er. There is also lots of electronics inside 
which we need to know nothing about to 
operate a television correcdy. In fact, if we 
had to learn about electronics to use a televi- 
sion, we might give up Eastenders altogether 
and read the latest Jllly Cooper novel Or 
maybe not. The point Is that we perceive the 
world in terms of objects of which we only 
learn what we need to. To learn about the 
detailed ins and outs of the television, the 



COIN 



RECORD 



NAMF. 



ac;i : 



ADDRESS 



OCCUPATION 



PLAYER 



DIRECTION 



COLOUR SHAPE 



J 



Figure 7. Examples of datatypes 



kettle, the dishwasher, or even the molecular 
composition of deodorant is normally coun- 
terproductive. 
Now consider an example based inside the 
Atari, While the programmer might like to 
think of the screen display as a single entity, 
the reality of the computer environment is 
very different. Various resources related to 
the screen are scattered about the computer 
memory and behave in different ways. For 
example, the shadow and hardware colour 
registers are located at "opposite ends" of the 
memory and the distinction between the two 
may not be clear at first. Of course, the 
screen handler "Si 1 ' can be used to centralise 
the graphics capabilities to some extent. This 
gives the display a strong identity. We can set 
up a graphics mode and interact with it using 
a relatively simple interface (using 10CB calls 
in ML or PLOT/ PRINT/ LOCATE in BASIC}. 
Through the screen handler, the display feels 
like a concrete object which has various in- 
puts, outputs and plenty of stuff going in the 
background which we are blissfully unaware 
of- 

If we can model the human perception of the 
world (i.e. in terms of distinct objects) within 
a programming environment then program- 
ming might become a far more natural pro- 
cess. We have now arrived at. the concept of 
Object-Oriented Programming or OOP for 
short. The emphasis is nn objects con- 
ceived by the programmer, rather than 
any structures dictated by the computer. 
This idea sounds very natural but to 
program this way means reversing some 
of the bad habits of old such as the ten- 
dency to optimise ad Infinitum. OOP also 
requires a lot of careful planning before 
going near the computer, while the pro- 
cedural approach can tempt the program- 
mer to start bashing at the keyboard 
without thinking out the program first. To 
properly understand OOP, gentle coaxing 
is required but once you get there you 



might realise, like I did, that. you've been 

thinking this way all along. 
Four key concepts lie at the heart of the OOP 
approach: Data Abstraction, Encapsulation. 
Inheritance and Polymorphism. We'll go 
through them one by one. 



DATA ABSTRACTION 

Put simply, data abstraction is the ability to 
develop new types of variables, which we shall 
call 'datatypes'. While Atari Basic supports 
floating point numbers and strings, wc could 
easily come up with some useful ones of our 
own. As a lot or programs involve screen posi- 
tions, we might want to create a POSITION 
datatype which holds both the X and Y co- 
ordinates. If you were able to use this new 
datatype, then all of your subroutines could 
simply refer to a POSITION variable (say, 
POS1) instead of X and Y separately. Clearly, 
more complicated datatypes could be devised, 
Examples arc given in figure 1. 

This is not just superfluous packaging; it is a 
way of enforcing structure. With a language 
such as Atari Basic, it is convenient to plan a 
program with datatypes in mind even though 
Basic will not support them. Think of the 
database RECORD example; all databases are 
written with this type of structure included 
but they may not be progranuiied in a lan- 
guage which can create a RECORD datatype. 
It doesn't matter - the structure is more Im- 
portant, As far as 1 am aware, there is only a 
version of C. C/65, which supports data ab- 
straction on the 8-bit Atari 

Before we proceed to die next concept, the 
distinction between datatype and variable 
must be made clear. If we consider Atari 
Basic strings, then 'STRING' is the datatype 
and A$, BR$ and RJES are all examples of 
'STRING' variables. The daiatypc is the struc- 
ture, while the variables are actual instances 



PLAYER 



X 
Y 

DIRECTION 

COLOUR 

SHAPE 

INITIALISE subroutine 

STAND subroutine 

WALK subroutine 

JUMP subroutine 

PLOT subroutine 



Figure 2. Basic encapsulation 



of this structure. 



ENCAPSULATION 

Suppose, now. that a datatype could be ex- 
tended to contain subroutines. Moreover, 
suppose a datatype could also hide some of 
its interna] data so that only its own. sub- 
routines could access it. This is the idea of 
"encapsulation". Look at figure 2, We have 
extended the PLAYER datatype to include 
subroutines which refer to PIjWER variables. 
This means that if we reused this datatype in 
another program we would not have to worry 
about whether it would need adapting; all of 
the relevant code is 'encapsulated' within the 
datatype. 

We can go further than this; look at figure 3. 



12 



Page G's New Atari User 



Page 6' a New Atari User 



13 



y FLAYER | 


Private 


Public 


COLOUR 

SHAPE 

INITIALISE subroutine 

STAND subroutine 

WALK subroutine 




X 

Y 

DIRECTION 

PLOT subroutine 


JUMP subroutine 







Figure 3, Strong encapsulation 



Now we have divided up 
the Internal structure of 
the PLAYER datatype into a 
"public" section and a "pri- 
vate" section. The public 
data/ subroutines are avail- 
able to an external prog- 
ram. The private data /sub- 
routines, however cam only 
be accessed by the dataty- 
pe's own subroutines. This 
means that when we use 
this datatype, we are auto- 
matically barred from 
using certain data and 
subroutines. Consequently, 
we do not need to worry so 
much about what we 
should nut alter or meddle 
with. 

We are no longer dealing 
with an ordinary datatype; 
to make the distinction 
clear, a datatype with en- 
capsulation will be called a 
CLASS, Also, ins lances of a 
class will not be called vari- 
ables - they will be called OBJECTS. Now we few bits: A LIVES counter? A SHOOT sub- 
have reached our original goal, to mimic the routine? The difficulty is that classes are in- 
human perception of individual objects' In a tended to be self-contained; to go back and 
programming framework, A programmer's ob- pull the code to pieces to include new sub- 




Figure 4, Extending PLAYER by nesting it in a new class 



jeet will contain data and subroutines; private 
data and subroutines are the hidden machin- 
ery which an external program does not need 
to know about. 



INHERITANCE 



Suppose we had the PLAYER class as shown 
In figure 3. In a later program, the PLAYER 

class might not be as perfect as It was for the 
original program. Maybe we'd like to add a 



routines defeats the whole point. 

One approach is shown in figure 4, We could 
simply make a new class PLAYERPLUS and 
put a PIJVYER object inside it. In tills way 
PLAYERPLUS is just like the PLAYER class 
with some bits added on. However, this is 
structurally clumsy; to refer to original ele- 
ments of PLAYER means we have go through 
two 'interfaces' - once through PLAYERPLUS 
then again through PLAYER. 

Figure 5 shows what we really want. We 
want PLAYERPLUS to be exactly PLAYER plus 
some other data/subroutines without ha\1ng 



to re-invent the wheel. The capacity to do this 
is called inheritance'. PLAYERPLUS is said to 
have inherited data and subroutines from 
PI.AYER; such a class is sometimes known as 
"subclass' of PLAYER or a derived class'. Ex- 
tending old code is natural and safe when 
done through an inheritance mechanism. 



POLYMORPHISM 



Some consider a program not to be object- 
oriented at all unless it implements what is 
known as "polymorphism". This idea is Impor- 
tant when you build a class which la to be 
extended in the future. 

Suppose I had several different PLAYER clas- 
ses in mind, say RED. OREEN and BLUE. 
Each one has a different SHOOT subroutine. 
What I could do is crcaLc a PLAYER class with 
a SHOOT subroutine, and arrange it so that 
any classes that inherit P1.AYER can have 
their own SHOOT subroutine - they do not 
necessarily inherit die original. So I go ahead 
and derive die RED, BLUE and GREEN clas- 



J 1JI AVC17 1J1 1 IC 1 


wamaMm 


Public 


Private 


COLOUR 


X 


SHAPE 


Y 


SCORE 7 , 


DIRECTION 


LIVES 


AMMUNITION 


INITIALISE subroutine 


PLOT subroutine 


STAND subroutine 




WALK subroutine 




JUMP subroutine 




SHOOT subroutine 




RELOAD subroutine 





14 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Figure 5. Extending PLAYER by inheritance 

Page 6's New Atari User 



ses from PLAYER, giving each one its own 
SHOOT subroutine, Why is this a good thing? 
Well, when your program tells an object to 
SHOOT it does not need to know whether it is 
dealing with a RED. BLUE or GREEN object. 
The correct subroutine would be called auto- 
matically; tn fact, your whole program could 
be based on PLAYER objects and it would 
behave correctly when faced with RED, BLUE 
or GREEN objects. This is an extremely pow- 
erful aspect of OOP, You could even go back 
to this program later and add a new PLAYER 
subclass called YELLOW With its own S1JOOT 
subroutine - and it would be Incorporated 
without problems I 

Within the Atari Operating System exists an 
excellent example of object-oriented design 
featuring polymorphism - the Central Input/ 
Output (CIO] mechanism. Many functions are 
run through CIO, ranging from manipulation 
of the screen display to interfacing with a 
modem- CIO manages 8 IOCBs (In put/ Output 
Control Blocks) which act as channels for the 
CIO operations. An IOCB has a variety of 
Inputs and outputs of its own: command 
number, buffer address, auxiliary numbers 
etc. As an IOCB can be 
linked In different handlers 
(such as C:, D:) the effects 
of a command sent to ft are 
dependent on what handler 
is in play. 
In the CIO example, we 
can label various elements 
with OOP terms. The hand- 
lers are classes which can 
be considered to have been 
derived from some abstract 
class; the IOCBs arc objects 
of these handler classes. 
There are many sub- 
routines which each IOCB 
object recognises, such as 
OPEN, READ or WRITE 

15 



A. 



but, crucially, the effect of 
such a call depends on 
which handler class the 
IOCB belongs to - see figure 
6. This Is a complex system 
of polymorphism which can 
be extended further by 
user-defined handlers. 



FINE IN 
THEORY 

What does this all mean 
when It comes to down to 
programming? The best 
way to use OOP is get an 
OOP language which sup- 
ports class creation, inheri- 
tance and polymorphism. 
There arc many such lan- 
guages on modem comput- 
ing platforms. C++ is an ex- 
tension of the popular low- 
Icvcl language C, which is 
gaining its own popularity 
as a, widely -used OOP lan- 
guage, Java Is receiving a 
lot of attention currently as 
it was devised for the purpose of in creasing 
the capabilities of the World Wide Web. Unfor- 
tunately, there Is no OOP language for the 
Atari but, as was noted earlier, the import- 
ance of OOP is in the structure which the 
programmer conceives, 

If we develop a program based on OOP prin- 
ciples then our program will be better for it. 
For example, if we think of the PLAYER class 
shown in figure 3. we could write our program 
promising ourselves NEVER to reference any 
of the private data/ subroutines. We could put 
REMs or comments near them to mark them 



WRITE 

command 



CIO 



•^L. *-k 



[C:l t>: 



i 



E: 



Save 

to 

tape 



Save 

tr> 
disk 



Print 
text 




X 



Plot 
graphics 



Figure 6. CIO as an example of polymorphism 



as private. Keeping this kind of structure alive 
In the planning stage means that the program 
respects it Implicitly. Reuse of such code will 
be far easier as it can lifted out cleanly with 
little dependence on the external program. 
So where do we go from here? I could de- 
monstrate some applications in Basic based 
on an OOP structure, but I'm not going to. 
There is actually a way to create a primitive 
OOP interface for machine language program- 
ming, if you have a macro assembler. This is 
what we shall explore next issue, using the 
MAC/65 macro assembler. See you then. • 



DISK BONUS 



SPACE FIGHTER 

A machine code game by John Foskett 



An alien race is attacking the Earth and your mission is to defeat the alien fleet and to defend the 
Earth You must use your space craft's weapon systems wisely because they all consume fuel 
which must last for Uie duration of your battle. 

THE WEAPON SYSTEMS.... 

LASER CANNON The laser cannon is used to destroy the alien fleet and is controlled by 
using a joystick in port 1, use a joystick with diagonal movement otherwise you will be severely 
restricted. The laser may be fired using the trigger in the normal way or by using Ihe autofire facility 
described below. 

AUTOFIRE <AUTO> The autofire facility is used to fire the laser automatically when on 

target and is toggled on/off by pressing the "A" key. 

FORCE FIELD SHIELDS <SHLD> The force field shields are used for protection 

against the alien fleet and are toggled on/off by pressing ihe "S" key, When the shields are in use, 
space takes on a bluish hue. The shields do not give complete protection against the alien fleet but 
they greatly reduce the chances of being hit. 

ENGINES <ENGN> The engines are toggled on/off by using the *E H key, but they must be 
on in order to chase the alien fleet around the skies. 

COMMUNICATIONS <COMM:> All relevant information is displayed on screen as 
necessary for a short period of time before being blanked out, bul the "L" key may be pressed at 

any lime to redisplay the last major message shown, 

FUEL Displays the amount of fuel remaining which begins at 9999. 
HITS Records the number of alien space craft destroyed. 

RECEIVING HITS During battle you will receive many hits, some will be major causing 

damage to your space craft, you may even receive a direct hit. You will be kept informed of all hits 
received and of any damage inflicted, unless of course your communications have been damaged in 
which case your communications may be blanked out or may display rubbish. 



This great program is the BONUS on this issue's disk. If you are not a disk 
subscriber you can still obtain a copy for £2.50 from NEW ATARI USER, P.O. BOX 54, 

STAFFORD, ST16 1TB. Please make cheques payable to PAGE 6 PUBLISHING or 
order by telephone with your Visa or Access card on 017B5 241 153 

NOTE: THE ISSUE DISK OFTEN CONTAINS ADDITIONAL. 
BONUS PR 0<3 HAMS NOT MENTIONED IN THE MAGAZINE 



16 



Ffige &'s New Atari User 



Page 6's New Atari User 



17 



PROGRAMMING 



I 



NEWTON'S 
SQUARE ROOT 



Ever wondered how square roots were 
calculated before computer's came on 
the scene? Newton worked out this 
algorithm: 

1. Begin by choosing a number, Integer or 
floaiing point for which you want bo find 
the square root and make a rough guess at 
the answer 

2. Find the ratio of the number and the guess 

3. Find the average of the ratio and the guess 

4. If the ratio is approximately equal to the 
guess then the average is the square root 
required 

5. Otherwise, take the average as being the 
new guess and repeat from step 2 

The program coding for this algorithm is 
fairly straightforward to follow and the vari- 
ables used are self-evident, but some may 
need further explanation. The Atari Classic, 
and any other computer for that, matter, can- 
not handle very small numbers to any great 
degree, which sometimes limits the accuracy 
of calculating square roots containing frac- 
tions. If the Calculation procedure were ended 
when RATIO and GUESS wen: equal there 
would be some cases where this condition 
would never be true and the loop would never 
end. Using P prevents this by Indicating the 
precision of the answer required and ending 



by David Sargeant 



the bop when the difference between RATIO 
and GUESS Is within this limit. 

Having said that, there arc still some inst- 
ances where the calculation would tie up the 
computer for long periods. MAX and COUNT 
are used to limit the number of iterations of 
the loop to something sensible. Before the 
calculation is started, COUNT is zeroed and 
incremented on each loop iteration. If COUNT 
ever gets to be greater than MAX the loop is 
ended and In this case the answer given is 
only an approximation. 



VARIABLES 



NUMBER 

P 

MAX 

GUESS 

COUNT 

FLAG 

RATIO 

AVERAGE 



Number accepted from user 
Precision of answer 
Maximum number ol Iterations 
Guess at (he square root 
Loop counter 

Answer found? O^false 1=true 
Ratio of number and guess 
Average of ratio and guess 



m 18 rem mmmnmummmm 

FD 11 REM i NEWTON'S 3BUARE RB0T * 

QL 12 REM 5! BY Drt'JID SARBEANT * 

El 13 REM I (TURBO BASIC) X 

LI [4 REM * — — * K 

B4 IS REM I NEW ATARI USER - JAN 96 * 

m it ren mHHsaammxammm* 
jc let -- 

m 116 INAIN 
S4 121 EXEC INIT 
BK 138 WHILE NUMBER 
HJ 148 EXEC CALCULATE 
TV m INPUT "Enter number 

.NUMBER 
PR Itf MEND :END 
JQ 178 - 
JS !98 - 
GU 198 PflDC INIT 
PU 288 GRAPHICS M;? * 
UARE ROOT ':? :? 
KS 218 P=lE-flBjmX=l88 
TO 228 INPUT 'Enter umber (0 to quit) >■ 

.NOTES 
VQ 238 ENDPRCC 
JL 249 -- 
JH 250 - 

PZ 268 PROC CALCULATE 
TI 27B GUE5S4fUMBER/2sC0iM=^;FLAMa 
PZ 286 REPEAT 
KI 29B RATI (CUMBER/GUESS 
UR 368 AU£RAGE-(RATI0+GUESS)/2 
SJ 318 IF AB5«RAT10-GUESS)XP 
XG 328 FLAG=K1:ELSE 
m 338 GUEBB=AVEMGE:CaUNT=CQUNr+Zl 
m 348 IP CGUNDMAX 
NG 358 ? ' Not conversing in ';MAX|' itt 

rations' 
PQ H% FLAG=21:END3F JENDJF 
KD 378 UNTIL FLAG 

XF 388 ? ° Square root is ';E1ESSj? 
ND 390 ENDPROC 

jf m - 





1 
2 
3 


Jump Jet 
Mountain King 
Zombies 


to quit) }' 


4 
5 


Pitfall 
Gumball 




6 


Kazoo 




7 


The Eidolon 


NEKTON'S SQ 


8 
9 


Fighter Pilot 
Invasion 



Underline = INVERSE CHARACTERS • [ ] = CONTROL + 

CHARACTER -< > = INVERSE CONTROL + CHARACTER 



John Hull's 

TOP TEN 

WORST GAMES 



10 Rogue 



BEST SOUND/MUSIC 



1 


Video Classics 


2 


World Karate Championship 


3 


Drol 


4 


Laser Hawk 


5 


Beta Lyrae 


6 


Bruce Lee 


7 


Cosmic Tunnels 


8 


ISO 


9 


Mr Do 


10 


Starquake 



Got a Top Ten of your own? Why 
not send it in, we can always use 
little snippets like this when 
there is a bit of space to fill 



IB 



Page 6*s New Atari User 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Id 



Features 

and 



DID YOU HEAR ANYONE SAY 

GOODBYE? 



This article was pasted 
on the Internet some 
eighteen months ago 
but strangely two read- 
ers sent it in to us with- 
in a week of each other 
after the last issue. 
Perhaps it has only just 
reached its intended 
audience? Although 
much of this is now his- 
tory, the article gives 
some fascinating in- 
sights into the demise 
of Atari and reflects the 
feelings of many of us. 



Donald A. Thomas Jr. 



It's odd to imagine an institution which 
was as big and as powerful as Atari once 
was to have been shut down in recent 
days. The real amazement for me is that 1 1 
was all accomplished without a measurable 
flinch from within or outside the gaming in- 
dustry, 1 can understand that gamers wanted 
to push Pong out the door early in the time- 
line, I can appreciate that the classics such as 
Missile Command and Asteroids do not push 
32 -bit and 64 -bit systems to any technologic- 
al limits. I know all these things intellectually, 
but the heart cannot face the truth that the 
world and the corporate machine known as 
Atari could not find an amicable way to 
coexist. 

On Tuesday July 30, 1396, Atari Corpora- 
tion took each and every share If its company 
(ATC). wrapped them all in a tight bundle and 
presented them to JTS Corporation; a maker 
and distributor of hard disk drives. On Wed- 
nesday, the shares were traded under the 
symbol of JTS. Within a few weeks, the re- 
maining staff of Atari that were not dismissed 
or did not resign, moved to JTS's headquar- 
ters in San Jose. California. The three people 



were assigned to different areas of the build- 
ing and all that really remains of the Atari 
namesake is a Santa Clara warehouse full of 
unsold Jaguar and Lynx products. 



THE PROMISE 
OF RICHES 

It was only as long ago as mid '95 that Atari 
executives and staff believed things were fin- 
ally taking a better turn. Wal*Mart had agreed 
to place Jaguar game systems In 400 of their 
Superstores across the country. Largely 
based on this promise of new hope and oppor- 
tunities that open when such deals are made. 
Atari invested heavily in the product and 
mechanisms required to serve the Wal*Mart 
chain. But the philosophical beliefs of the 
Atari decision makers that great products 
never need advertising or promotions, put the 
Wal*Mari deal straight Into a tails pin. With 
money tied up in the product on shelves as 
well as the costs to distribute them to get 
there, not much was left to saturate any mar- 
ketplace with advertising. While parents 
rushed into stores to get their kids Sa turns or 
PlayStations, the few that picked up the 
Jaguar were chastised by disappointed chil- 
dren on Christmas day. 

In an effort to salvage the pending Wa|*Mart 
situation, desperate attempts to run infomer- 
cials across the country were activated. The 
programs were professionally produced by ex- 
perts in the infomereial industry and desig- 
ned to permit Atari to run slightly different 
offers in different markets. In spile of the 
relatively low cost of running infomcrcials, the 
cost to produce them and support them is 
very high, The results were disappointing. Of 
the few thousand people who actually placed 
orders, many of them re turned their purch- 
ases after the Holidays. The kids wanted what 



20 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Page 6's New Atari User 



they saw on TV during the day] They wanted 
what their friends had! They wanted what the 
magazines were raving about! 

In early 1996, Wal'Mart began returning all 
remaining inventory of Jaguar products. After 
reversing an 'advertising allowance" Atari was 
obligated to accept, the net benefit Atari real- 
ised was an overflowing warehouse of inven- 
tory in semi-crushed boxes and with firmly 
fixed price and security tags. Unable to find a 
retailer willing to help distribute the numbers 
required to stay afloat. Atari virtually discon- 
tinued operations and traded any remaining 
cash to JTS in exchange for a graceful way to 
exit the industry's back door. 

Now that JTS has 'absorbed' Atari, it realty 
doesn't know what to do with the bulk of 
machines Atari hoped to sell. It's difficult to 
liquidate them. Even at liquidation prices, 
consumers expect a minimal level of support 
which JTS has no means to offer. The hun- 
dreds of calls they receive from consumers 
that track them down each week are 
answered to the best ability of one person. 
Inquiries with regard to licensing Atari classic 
favourites for other applications such as 
handheld games arc handled by Mr, John 
Skruch who was with Atari for over 1 3 years. 



ATARI WAS FIRST 

In spite of Nintendo's claim that their newest 
game system is the first 64 -bit games system 
on the market. Atari Corporation actually in- 
troduced the first 64-bit system just before 
Chris l mas in 1993, Since Atari couldn't afford 
to launch the system nationwide, the system 
was introduced in the New York and San 
Fransisco markets first. Beating the 32-bit 
systems to the punch (Saturn/PlayStation), 
Atari enjoyed moderate success with the 
Jaguar system and managed to lure shallow 
promises from third-party companies tu sup- 

21 



* 



port the system. Unfortunately, programmers 
grossly underestimated the time required to 
develop 64 -bit games. The jump from S-bit 
and 16-bit was wider than anticipated. In 
addition, Atari was already spread thin mone- 
tarily, but were required to finance almost 
every title that was in development. 
After the initial launch, it took Atari almost a 
year before an assortment of games began to 
hit the store shelves. Even then, having mis- 
sed the 94 Holiday Season, many of the plan- 
ned titles were de-accelerated to minimize 
problems caused by rushing things too fast. 
Consumers were not happy and retailers were 
equally dismayed . The few ads that Atari were 
able to place in magazines were often stating 
incorrect release dates because that informa- 
tion changed almost every day although 
magazines deadline their Issues up to 120 
days in advance. 



JACK TAKES OVER 



It was in 1 983 that Warner Communications 
handed Jack'Tramiel the reins of Atari. By 
this time, Atari was often categorised as a 
household name, but few households wanted 
to spend much money on new software and 
the systems were lasting forever, No one 
needed to buy new ones, That, combined with 
Warner's obscene spending amounted to a 
daily loss of over $2 million. Atari was physic- 
ally spread all over the Silicon Valley with 
personnel and equipment in literally 80 sepa- 
rate buildings; not considering international 
offices and manufacturing facilities. Mr, Tra- 
miel took only the home consumer branch of 
Atari and forced Warner to deal with the 
arcade divisions separately. Within a few 
years, Jack took the company public, intro- 
duced an innovative new line of affordable 

16 -bit computers and released the 7800 video 
game system. 

To accomplish these miracles for Atari, Jack 



Implemented his "business Is war" policies. 
While people who publicly quoted his state- 
ment often felt that policy meant being ex- 
tremely aggressive in the marketplace, the 
meaning actually had closer ties to Tramiers 
experience as a concentration camp survivor, 
orthe 80 buildings In Sunnyvale. Santa Clara 
and Milpitas, almost every one of them were 
amputated from Atari's bpdy of liabilities. The 
people, the work, the heritage, the history 
were fired or liquidated. Those who survived 
were unsympathetically required to fill in the 
gaps and while most tried, few actually found 
a way to successfully do what a dozen people 
before them did. Atop the mountain, jack 
pressed with an iron thumb. All Fed/E.x mail- 
ings were required to be pre-approved by one 
of a handful of people. "Unsigned" purchase 
orders went unpaid regardless of the urgen- 
cies that inspired their creation. Employees 
found themselves spending valuable time 
trying to find ways around the system to 
accomplish their jobs. Many of them lost their 
jobs for bending the rules or never finding a 
way to make things work. As horrible as it all 
sounds, it actually was the only way to pro- 
tect Atari as a company and give it a chance 
to survive as it did and did very well. 



EUROPE BECKONS 

Jack's introduction of the 16-bit computer 
was initially hearty in the United States but it 
went extremely well in Europe. Europeans 
were not accustomed to 'affordable' technolo- 
gy and although the Atari computers were not 
IBM compatible, it didn't matter because peo- 
ple could afford them. Jack's private laugh 
was that the computers were sold at prices 
much higher in Europe than Americans were 
willing to pay. As a result, most of the 
machines made were being shipped to Euro- 
pean destinations to capture the higher mar- 
gin. This enraged the people of the United 



States that had been Atari loyalists. While 
waiting months for stores to take delivery 
domesttcally, international magazines were 
touting ample supplies. Those in the know 
within the U.S. became dismayed. The re- 
mainder never knew Atari was slowly aban- 
doning the value of Atari's name recognition 
as it became easier and easier to forget, some 
assuming Atari had long filed for bankruptcy. 
On a technical level Atari 16-bit computers 
were designed beyond their time. For less 
than SI .000, consumers could enjoy "mul- 
timedia" before the phrase was really widely 
used. The icon-based working environment 
preceded Windows popularity although the 
essential attributes of the two environments 
were very similar. MIDI was built-in and be- 
came an instant hit in the high-end music 
industry. Tasks were activated and manipu- 
lated with a mouse and the system accepted 
industry standard peripherals such as prin- 
ters, modems and diskettes. 



A WHOLE NEW 
WORLD 

With all the genius that went into the tech- 
nology of the machines, very little of equiva- 
lent genius went Into promoting and market- 
ing the machines. Mr. Tramiel was the found- 
er of Commodore Business Machines, when 
he introduced the PET computer in 1977, 
Jack discovered he didn't have to call a single 
publication, Instead they all flocked to his 
door demanding an opportunity to see the 
product. News magazines. Science Journals. 
Business newsletters. Newspaper reporters. 
They were all there with a microphone, 
camera and pen in hand. And they kept com- 
ing back. Adding a switch, annoimcing a new 
4K application or signing a new retailer were 
all big Stories the press wanted to handle. 

Today, a new video game announcement 



may generate a request from any of the 
dozens of gaming magazines for a press re- 
lease, but a lot of costly work has to be done 
to assure fair or better coverage. Editorial 
people are literally swamped with technical 
news. Samples are mailed regularly to their 
attention, Fajtes fly in through the phone 
lines and e-mail Jams up their hard drives. It 
takes a lot to grab their attention. 

While Atari retained hopes to be successful 
with the Jaguar, Atari's marketing people 
were fighting established standards in the in- 
dustry with severe handicaps. Since car- 
tridges [the Jaguar was/ Is primarily a car- 
tridge-based system) were so expensive, edito- 
rial people were required to return them be- 
fore new ones, would be sent. Editorial people 
like to assign review projects. So finding car- 
tridges they sent out was not always easy to 
dn. Additionally reviewers love their work be- 
cause they get to keep what they write about 
Regardless, the few magazines willing to cover 
Atari products were more often turned away 
because of a lack of programmable cartridges 
or any number of other indecisive barriers, 
In-store signs and posters were sometimes 
created, but many retail chains charge pre- 
miums to manufacturers that want to display 
them. Some direct mail campaigns were im- 
plemented, bur. Atari often could not afford to 
keep those things being, advertised on sche- 
dule. Therefore, the advertisements were pub- 
lished and distributed, but the product was 
not available. 

Clearly. Jack's experience with the world 
beating a pa til to the door of a company 
making a better mousetrap no longer applied. 
The world had revolved a few times beneath 
him and he never noticed. The tactics used to 
successfully sell Commodore computers were 
simply antiquated notions from the past. 
Meanwhile. Sony launches the PlayStation 
with over $500 million In marketing funds. 
Today, the P lav Station Is considered the most 
successful next -genera lion gaming machine 
throughout the world. Sony bought the mar- 



22 



Page 6's New Atari User 



* 



Page 6's New Atari User 



23 



keL Tramicl's Atari never learned how to do 
that. Actually they could never afford it 
anyway. 



PC POWER 



After the 1990s got underway, Europe as 
well as the rest of the world, discovered that 
IBM -compatible computers were becoming 
more powerful and more affordable. The world 
always did wanL computers at home just like 
in the office and companies like Dell and 
Gateway exemplified the Industry's trend to- 
ward home-based office computers. As a re- 
sult, companies like Commodore, Atari and 
Next couldn't compete any longer. While the 
dedicated user base of each of them felt aban- 
doned by these companies having to leave the 
computer market, the inevitable prevailed, 
Commodore jumped ship, Next changed busi- 
ness goals completely and Atari invested what 
they had left In the Jaguar game system. 
Even loday, Apple is kicking and screaming 
As good aa Apple was at creating a huge niche 
for themselves, they focused more heavily on 
education. When kids grow up and get jobs, 
they want business machines. IBM was al- 
ways the business standard. 



UNANSWERED 
QUESTIONS 

When one examines the history of Atari, an 
appreciation can grow for how many busine- 
sses and people were a part of the game over 
the years. Chuck E, Cheese Pizza was started 
by Atari's founder Mr. Nolan Bushnell, Apple 
Computer was born in a garage by ex-Atari 
employees. Activision was found by Ace Atari 
programmers. The list goes on and on, 

But for some pathetic reason Atari's final 



days came and went with no tribute, no fan- 
fare and no dignified farewells. Why? Where 
did all the talent go? Where are all the arc- 
hives? Where are all the vaults? Where are 
the unpublished games and where are the 
originals of those that wen;? Why has no 
company stepped forward to adopt the re- 
maining attributes Atari has to offer? Where 
are the creditors? What has happened to all 
the properties and sites? Where are the data- 
bases, warranty cards, promotional items, 
notes on meetings, unanswered mail? Who 
owns P.O. Box 61657? Who goes to work in 
Atari's old offices? Where do consumers have 
their systems fixed? Who is publishing new 
games? Who still sells Atari products? Why 
are there still a lot of people talking about 
Atari on-line. 

I'm an ex- Atari employee and proud to have 
been. I'm still an Atari devotee and proud to 
be. To me, these are questions which all de- 
serve an answer, but who will ask them? 

The best people to ask these questions of are 
those who have exposure to the public. If you 
believe Atari left us without saying goodbye, 
contact Dateline at dateline® nbc, com. If you 
REALLY believe, then send this article to 10 of 
your friends in e-mail AND if you REALLY. 
REALLY believe, mail a few to newspapers or 
other news programs. A letter in your own 
words would be great! 

I'd spend money for a thorough retrospect on 
Atari. Wouldn't you? 

Wouldn't it at least be nice to say "Goodbye"? 

Don Thomas 
75300. 1267® co mpuscrve.com 

The author has given permission/or this arti- 
cle to appear in New Atari User. It is printed in 
its original /orm except for the paragraph 
headings which have been added to improve 
presentation in the printed Jorrrh Out thawks 
go to Joel Goodwin and A vram Dumistrescu 
Jot spotting it on the Internet and sending it in- 



Features 

and 



ATARI A! 1 




Ihavc been keeping an eye out for any 
Atari fc>-bits popping up in films and TV, 
and I've found a FEW, but I'm sure there 
must be MANY more. Back in the early 80s 
when 8- bit computers to general were all we 
had, film makers wanting a computer in the 
background or as part of the main film had to 
choose from a range of computers, and some- 
times they chose the Atari 8- bit. Here is my 
list of films in which an Atari 8-bit appears: 

D.A.R.YX (1986) - You ALL should know 
about this one. An S00XL appears more than 
the actors!! The 800XL is used extensively, 
and Pole Position appears for quite some time 
also. Later in the film a large bank of TVs 
show a myriad of Atari games being played, 

VIDEO DROME (1982) - Wot easy to 
spot this one, but if you have a chance to see 
this film, keep a look out when they arc in the 
small TV station lab. On a bench at the back 
of the room is an 800 with an BIO disk drive 
next to it. 

AIRPLANE! (1980) - A bit of a cheat this 
one. because the computer itself doesn't 
appear, but a game does. Near the end when 

they are in the air traffic control centre, one of 
the screens is showing Basketball being play- 
ed, which is one Of the Atari's very first car- 
tridges from 1979. 

As far as TV programmes are concer- 
ned, it is extremely difficult to check 
because it is almost impossible to get 
to see any programmes of tills sort of vinlage. 



by Dean Garraghty 

We'll have to wait for repeats and all keep a 
look out! However, 1 have spotted an Atari. 
8-bit in a couple of programmes. 

TRIUMPH OF THE NERDS (1996) 
Channel 4 - 1 hope you all watched this 
fascinating look at the history of computers. 
Although many computers featured in this, 
the Atari never did. However, if you look 
closely there is an 800 with an 8 1 disk drive 
on one of the shelves In the garage! 

4 COMPUTER BUFFS (1985) Chan- 
nel 4 - Tills short-lived computer programme 
from Channel 4 was an attempt to compete 
against the excellent and much missed "Micro 
Live" from BBC2, An 3GGXL with programmer 
appeared on the first programme, because the 
guy had created new opening titles for the 
programme using an Atari. Anybody know 
who this guy was? 

As 1 said earlier, there must be LOADS more 
examples of the Atari popping up in films and 
TV, As a guess, I would say they are likely to 
be exclusively American, because most Brit- 
ish films and TV programmes just used the 
old BBC Micro. They are also likely to have 
been made between 1979 and 1986/87, Now 
here's the challenge: keep a look out and 
make a note of any films or TV programmes 
that have an Atari 8-bit In them somewhere, 
even if it is just part of the background. If you 
find any please send them directly to me and 
I'll produce an updated article for a future 
issue. 

Bean Garraghty, 62 Thomson Ave* 
Balbu, Don caster, DN4 ONU 



24 



Page 6s New Atari User 



Page 6's New Atari User 



25 




it's 



The TIPSTER 



/"T"' his issue is given over to James 
* J Mathrick's help an a couple of 
X Public Domain adventures you will 
fmd in the PAGE 6 Library. If you have 
not played these games before, or indeed 
never tried an adventure, now is the time 
to boot up the disks and have a go. When 
you get hooked, go on to play some more 
and send us in your own hints, tips and 
maps. 



OPERATION 
SABOTAGE 

(Adventure Set 1 1 or disk #23) 



Here are some hints for playing this 
PD adventure together with a map to 

find your way around. 

There are a few way 9 to finish this 
game - you can fall, you can escape 
from the spaceship with or without 
the secret plans, and you can do any 
of the previous and blow the space- 
ship up. The following hints should 
help you escape with maximum 
points: 

U DO NOT press the red button In 
the Bio Lab - it will release an 
alien monster. 

IS Shoot the control computer In the 
robot control centre - it will stop 
the patrol attacks on you. Don't 



AIRLOCK 



CORRIDOR 



CORRIDOR 



CORRIDOR 



SMALL 
ROOM 



LEVEL 1 


DECON 
ROOM 




baton 




pistol 






crowbar 


LA ROE 
OFFICE 




LARGE 
CHAMBER 




SMALL 
STORAGE 
CHAMBER 






bulteri 


e* 






c 


aJendai 






STORAGE 
ROOM 


/ 


PURPLE 
ROOM 




SMALL 
CHAMBER 














iwi« 






LARGE 
HALL 




SMALL 

OFFICE 




ELECTRONIC 
LAB 






















ENT'MT 
ROOM 




SMALL 
ROOM 




BIO 
LAB 




program) 


] 


try 










DATA 

STORAGE 
ROOM 




LARGE 
OFFICE 




STORAGE 
CHAMBER 





w 

END 



E 
END 



SECURITY 
CENTRE 



LAUNCH 
AREA 



cbfxt 



SMALL 
CORRIDOR 




LAUNCH 
CONTROL 




ROBOT 

CONTROL 

CENTRE 


— 


RADAR 
CONTROL 


cuirltr 






hfltnh 




jpin 


COMPUTER 
CENTRE 




SMALL 
CQRRIDOH 




WEAPONS 
STORAGE 




MEDI 
STATION 


nltro £j ^ccrLni 




















CHEMICAL 
LAB 




BLUE 
ROOM 


v 


LIBRARY 




SECURITY 
STATION 


1 








\ 


l 








REACTOR 
CONTROL 




STORAGE 
ROOM 




















millii 


NUCLEAR 
REACTOR 




SMALL 
CHAMBER 




SECURITY 
CHECK 




RADIO 
ROOM 














pL&iu 


• ■fflt 


OPERATION SABOTAGE 
I*EVBX, 2 


SMALL 
ROOM 




SMALL 

ROOM 



shoot the computer in the nuclear reactor - 
you will destroy the base, but you won't 
escape. 

© Open the large desk in the office to get the 
electronic control baton - it can be used In 
open the safe, where you will find the sec- 
ret plans. 

© The silver pill will increase your hit points. 

© Open the desk in launch control to get the 
launch system cassette - you will need it to 
open the kuinchgate when you need to 



© The easiest and safest way to destroy the 
base Is to insert the computer destruct 

program (left helpfully in ihe data storage 
room) in the computer centre, 

© To move between levels, press the blue 
button in the purple room, and the red 
button In the blue room. 

© Use the crowbar to open the cabinet in the 
large chamber to get a laser pistol. 

MORE TIPSTER & 



26 



Page G's New Atari User 



Page 6's New Atari User 



27 



helium 



brnem 



Level 9 



KIDNAPPED 

(Adventure Set, #1 or Disk #30) 



deck 

TV«t 






dcik 

chair 


note 


trap door 
button 


OFFICE 




OFFICE 




ELEVATOR 














1 


HALLWAY 




HALLWAY 




HALLWAY 














REST ROOM 




OFFICE 




MAINTENANCE 
ROOM 



graffiti 



ulndoW 

k«r 



cabinet tape 
torch 



A very enjoyable game this one. very 
suitable for beginners to adventures. 
Here are some pointers for each 
floor, to help you escape from the 
office building. Check out the maps! 

Floor 9 

At the blackout, provided you have the 
torch (found in the cabinet), just use the 
verb LIGHT. 

In the lift, climb chair (taken from the 
office), Open the trapdoor with the long 
broom, and soon you will find some 
wires. Tape the wires (after the power- 
cut), then get into the lift and push the 
button. 

If you need a key. have a look at th« 
window in the office. 



■■: :;;o: :<o:': '■•■'•■•y •■'•■'• :> : : : : : :-~:- ":o>: : ':<&:' v%t» -isoxtM 



rope 



;;:;::;;:;:::;:;;;;:;; ::;;:;: ; :.;.::;i 



CLOSET 



Levels 



piranha 

aquarium 








Floor 8 
Drug the piranhas with the sleeping pill. 


VISITOR'S 
LOUNGE 




HALLWAY 


and use one to get rid of the dog, When 
in the office, tie rope, and then go rope. 












pill dog 




dc»k window 






OFFICE 




OFFICE 









;;;:: 



■..■.■■■"'■'■.■■:■ i ■:■■: ■'■■■'■ ■■': ■ :■.■:■ 



supergluc 
wooden step 



OFFICE 



TOOL CRIB 



Level 7 



locked door 



HALLWAY 



HALLWAY 




STAIRWAY 



HALLWAY 



OFFICE 



Floor 7 

Put the thick capper sheet in the 
key making machine - this should 
help you open the door. Glue step 
before you go stairs, however. 



Floor 6 

Get the gun and 
go to the ledge. 
Move along to the 
next office. Scare 
the kidnapper with 
the gun, and take 
the dollar. Go to 
the string machine 



copper sheet 



STORAGE 
ROOM 



Level 6 



doll 




si on machine 



1& 



STORE 
ROOM 



L HALLWAY 



: :--c: : :'.:■:■: : :'. 



yarn 




Level 5 



worker* 



OFFICE 



fii 



HALLWAY 




HALLWAY 




HALLWAY 


knitting 


veedle-B 












button 


OFFICE 




STAIRS 




OFFICE 



•'■y.-.-r'-y. • ■ '-'.'.. .'.'.-'.- 



CLOSET 



OFFICE 



balloon 



HALLWAY 



door 



GAME ROOM 



tun 



OFFICE 



and PAY DOLLAR. Inflate the balloon 
with the helium, tie the string to the bal- 
loon, go the window again, and jump. 

FloorS 

Push the button to get rid of the fire, but 
get the yarn and knitting needles to KNIT 
CLOTHES before you go into the office 
with the nice office workers. The key 
should help to open the door, 

Floor 4 
Push button to fill the pool, read the 
book to cross the pool, get the umbrella, 

open the umbrella, and jump when in the 
dining room. 



Level 
4 



button 






umbrella 




OFFICE 




LAUNDRY 










pool 










window 


HALLWAY 




SWIM 
ROOM 


— 


SWIM 
ROOM 




DINING 




ROOM 


book 
















LIBRARY 





28 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Page 6' a New Atari User 



29 



graffltl 



vial 






RESTROOM 




LAB 


1 








4*i or 




HALLWAY 




HALLWAY 




HALLWAY 










• lidc 




I-evel 3 


PLAYROOM 



trapdoor 
plant 




water cooler 
cup 


LOUNGE 




OFFICE 





atair* 



STAIRCASE 



Floor 3 

Drink the fluid to open the door, Drink 
tine solution, then climb the slide, other- 
wise you won't fit down the hole. 

Float 2 

GET the PAPER cup, then GET 
WATER and POUR WATER on Itie 

plant ■ that should help you get through 
the trapdoor. Pfay the flute in the crawl- 
way, then GO ROPE. 

Floor J 

GET KEY from the piano, read the 
book, tie the rope in the hallway, throw 
the rope, and then GO ROPE. All you 

have to do then is open the door. 

This is a very "cute' adventure, and 
very logical! - highly recommended 
for those starting out In adventures. 



CRAWLWAY 




CRAWLWAY 



Level 2 



flute 



rvpi 



rope piano 




qulckiand 
book 


Level 1 


front door 


LOUNGE 




HALLWAY 


ENTRANCE 
HALL 





FtnaHy a couple "f questions from John Hull up on 
Merseyslde, Firstly he ask* "In MERCENARY, at 

the end of the game ft says "Always Save Out Any 
Winning (ESCAPE) Status as this' will give you be- 
neficial cntiy to MERCENARY II"- Thai's what it says 
uii rny game, or should It say Reenne! City?' Well, 
Jnhn. the old Tipster seems to remember ihal there 
was originally gtsing to tie a Mercenary II (at the time 
the original was written) but It look a long, long time 
to appear and during that time (he author decided 
to change the name to Second City, It's the same 
garnet 

John also wants help with FLIGHT SIMULA- 
TOR II. He has the disk and two Scenery disks 



but no manual and he can't figure out how to play, i 
doubt if we can solve the problem with a few hints 
and lips on these pages but if anyone has a Spate 
manual (hey could send ir direct io John Hull at 43, 
Forrnt Rnad, Sutton Manor, St r Helens, Merseyside 
WA9 4AZ, 

Thai's ailfitt this tdtumn, folks. DONT FORGET 
we still need ramriburtoris/orjutitre columns so 
pSease, please write something down and send it to: 

THE TIPSTER 

NEW ATARI USER 

P.O. BOX 541 

STAFFORD 

STie 1DR 



30 



Page 6's JVeix' Atari User 



Hardware 

[p[J3©J 




REVISITED 



John Foskett adds 
more information 
to help those who 
may not be so 
experienced 



DAMAGE 



As an experienced constructor of elec- 
tronic projects, 1 am afraid to say thai. 
I was not impressed by the article by 
Edmund Blake describing how to build an 
RS232 interface in issue 81 of New Atari User. 
1 was even less impressed with the circuit 
diagram (if that's what It's supposed to be) on 
Lhe Ark Comms disk OS 19, the diagram is 
about the most indecipherable load of clap 
trap I'd ewer come across, but I must congra- 
tulate Edmund for unravelling the Rubic 
Cube of circuit diagrams. Because of 
Edmund's obvious lack of electronic experi- 
ence, the article left a lot to be desired and 
hopefully the following information will go 
some way towards helping the lesser experi- 
enced constructor successfully complete this 
project. 



Damage most certainly CAN be done to your 
computer despite what the article states. We 
are all human beings and we all make mis- 
takes. It may onry take ONE mistake, a wrong 
connection, a wrongly positioned component 
and that's it. damage done. Check and double 
check is the motto, even for the experienced. 



CUTTING THE 
TRACKS 

You should NEVER use a knife to cut the 
copper tracks of Veroboard as the article 
states, (hat is positively dangerous, the blade 
could easily slip. There is a special tool avail 
able for this purpose from Maplin, a "Spot 
Face Cutter" code FL25C. Altc matively a twist 
drill bit of about 4mm could be used by hand 
to effectively countersink the appropriate 
holes on the copper side of the board and 
therefore cutting the tracks. 



Page 6's New Atari User 



31 



■ 



CONNECTING WIRE 

The jumper connections on Veroboard 
should be made with an Insulated single 
strand 1/0.6 wire which is available from 
Maplin and is referred to as "Bell Wire", The 
wire is available in various colours and Is 
supplied In 10m packs or 100m reels. For this 
project the colour of the wire ts unimportant, 
but I've chosen white (no particular reason) 
for which the Maplin codes are, 10m pack 
BL94C and 100m reel PA62S. If you wish to 
use a different colour other than white then 
you may choose from black, blue, green, 
orange, red or yellow for which the Maplin 
codes wi]] obviously be different. Note that 
you only need a short length of wine for this 
project so an off-cut of telephone cable could 
be stripped and the individual wires used. 
You often find odd bits of wire laying around 
after telephone engineers have worked on the 
road side connection boxes so why buy when 
you can scavenge? 



ELECTROLYTIC 
CAPACITORS 

Note that the 22uF axial electrolytic capaci- 
tors (Maplin code KB30H) are rated at 35V (35 
Volts) and not 25V as stated on the original 
circuit diagram. Note also that these electroly- 
tic capacitors are polarised and must be con- 
nected the right way round and note that it is 
the NEGATIVE connection that is marked 
with a minus sign which may confuse an 
inexperienced constructor who may be look- 
ing for a plus sign. 

[f you wish, the lOuF capacitor (Maplin code 

32 



FB22Y] on the original circuit diagram may be 
replaced with another 22uF capacitor. This 
capacitor is being used to decouple the sup- 
ply line and its actual value is less important 
This would enable you to use five 22uF capa- 
citors instead of four 22uF and one 10uF 
which would mean less chance of error during 
construction by picking up and using the 
wrong one. Rationalising component values in 
this way is normal practice in industry in 
order to reduce production errors, etc. 



INTEGRATED 
CIRCUITS 

Note that the MAX232 IC is referred to in the 
Maplin catalogue as MAX232CPE which may 
confuse an inexperienced constructor. The 
main part of this code is of course MAX232. 
the CPE part, of the code refers to packaging 
codes etc. 

When inserting the MAX232 I C into its sock- 
et and the relay into its Socket, be careful not 
to bend the pins since they will be weakened 
when straightened and could easily break off 
altogether. Also if a pin or several pins get 
bent underneath the component body, then 
the fault may not be obvious when the unit 
falls to work. When handling ICs, it is good 
practice NOT to touch the pins with your 
fingers (or any other bodily part for that mat- 
ter) since static electricity generated by your 
body can damage them. This is particularly 
important when handling CMOS ICs and note 
that the MAX232 uses CMOS technology- If 
necessary, to avoid the possibility of damage, 
there is a special IC insertion tool available 
from Maplin,. code FR25C. And finally always 
insert ICs Into their sockets last of all, after 



Page 6's New Atari. User 



all the wiring has been completed and check- 
ed and do make sure that the ICs are fitted 
the right way round even if the sockets are 

not. 



SOLDERING 

The article explains the principle of soldering 
quite well but I would advise the inexperi- 
enced constructor to practice first with an 
off- cut of veroboard, Do not overheat compo- 
nents by taking too long when soldering be- 
cause the heat can do damage. Prolonged 
heat can damage the Veroboard by forcing the 
copper tracks to lift off and break away. The 
secret of good soldering is to make a joint 
quickly with a hot iron and using a minimal 
amount of solder. The inexperienced con- 
structor tends to use far too much solder 
which on Veroboard can easily result in a 
blob of solder covering several tracks. Once 
adjacent tracks get shorted by a blob of sol- 
der, it can be very difficult to remove so take 
care and practice first. 

When soldering the flexible wires from the 
I/O cable to the Veroboard, strip about 
3-4mm of insulation from the end of the 
wires, twist the conductors and tin them as 
described in the article. Pass the tinned con- 
ductors through the appropriate holes from 
the top side of the Veroboard and solder to 
the tracks underneath. 

A good Up when soldering flexible wire to 
Veroboard is to pass the individual wires (in- 
sulation as well) through an adjacent hole 
before soldering the wire into position. It Is 
important to pass the wires through adjacent 
holes in the same track to which the wire is to 
be soldered or in an unused track to prevent 



the possibility of short circuits. This provides 
good mechanical strength for the wires and 
prevents any strain from being applied to the 
soldered joints should the wires accidentally 
get pulled. To clarify the principle, it could be 
seen as weaving the wires through the holes. 

BITS AND BOBS 



The original diagram shows two 3K resistors 
and references to DTR and DSR flncorreclly 
stated as D5RS) which may be ignored since 
they are not required for this project. Inciden- 
tally DTR and DSR refer to the right hand 
connections of the resistors (mvmv on the 
diagram) which has been omitted. The dia- 
gram also shows optional connections to pins 
8 (CTS TTLJ and 9 (CTS 232) of the MAX232. 
these may also be ignored. 



THE CIRCUIT 

Regarding the circuit of the interface Itself. 
there is no need to use a relay to isolate the 
interface from other equipment (such as disk 
drives), all you really need is a diode (a 
1 N4 1 48 will suffice) in series with pin 12 of 
the MAX232 which Is the output of the data 
receiver. The object of the diode (and of coarse 
the relay) is to prevent data from being fed 
Into the data rcccwcrs output terminal be- 
cause basically, you cannot drive an output! 
Why use an expensive double pole relay cost- 
ing about £5 to isolate a single line when you 
could use a cheaper single pole relay, but 
then why use a relay at all when a diode will 
do which will only cost a few pennies? • 



Page 6's New Atari User 



33 



Features 

and 



COMPUTER 
INTELLIGENCE 



Ann O'Driscoll 
continues her 
exploration into the 
thinking power of 
computers with an 
exploration of 
language programs 



Way back in the early days of comput- 
ing, British computer scientist Alan 
TUring proposed a test designed to 
see if computers were Intelligent. In the test, a 
person would sit In a room and type ques- 
tions into a computer terminal. As answers to 
the questions appeared on his screen, the 
questioner would try to guess whether they 
were typed by another human or generated by 
a computer. If the person could not work out 
whether he or she was talking to a machine or 



a computer then We would have to say that 
the computer was "intelligent". As It turned 
out, computers weren't able to pass the 'lur- 
ing Test but as time went on they got better 
and better, particularly If the range of discus- 
sion subjects Was limited at the outset. 
This article looks at some programs Involved 
in getting computers to understand ordinary 
everyday words iyped in at the keyboard. 



TRANSLATION 
PROGRAMS 

Work on language understanding by compu- 
ters began as far back as the 1950s, when 
computers first began to work more or less 
reliably. One famous cold war project involved 
creating a program that could translate scien- 
tific papers from Russian to English and En- 
glish to Russian. The idea was straightfor- 
ward enough - a parsing program would 
analyse sentences and identify each word 
according to whether it was a noun, a verb, 
and so on; [he word would then be looked up 
in a translation dictionary and substituted. 
However, scientists finally abandoned the 



project after spending 15 years and millions 
of dollars on research. It seems that the 
machine translators couldn't compete with 
people in terms of accuracy - on average, only 
about 80% of the text was processed cor- 
rectly! 



TALKING TO THE 
COMPUTER 

The problem with the machine translation 
program was that it was written at a time 
when knowledge about many aspects of lan- 
guage was in its infancy. For instance. It 
wasn't until the 1960s that serious considera- 
tion was given to sentence meaning as 
opposed to word meaning in die analysis of 
language. It is obvious to us now of course 
that the meaning of a sentence is more than 
the sum of the meaning of its words - for 
instance, a "Venetian blind" is not the same 
as a "blind Venetian". 

As time went on, a few programs began to 
emerge which acknowledged that there was 
more to language than just a big vocabulary. 
For instance, a few question-answering sys- 
terns in the 1960s recognised that you'd have 
to put your questions in some sort of context 
if you expected the computer to understand 
them. 

One early attempt along these lines was an 
American program called Baseball, developed 
at MIT. which could search its database to 
answer questions like "where did each team 
play in July?". The program worked because 
words like "play" and "team" had only one 
meaning, while words like "each" and "in" 
were ignored. Another program called Student 
solved maths problems input by the user by 
working along the same principles. 



THE COMPUTER 
ANSWERS BACK 

The next logical step was to get the computer 
to appear to talk back by means of the screen 
display. In the mid 1960s, Joseph Weizen- 
baurn created a famous program called Eliza 
which seemed to do Just that. The program 
had a language analyser and a script. Diffe- 
rent scripts would allow Eliza to play different 
conversational roles. By far the most well 
known script was one In which Eliza played 
the role of a psychoanalysis Eliza was prog- 
rammed to understand keywords (like 
mother, father), it could Identify categories for 
certain words and repeat some of the "pa- 
tient's" words In its responses. It could also 
repeal sentences frorn earlier in the conversa- 
tion, and use stock phrases like "Can you say 
that again?". While all of these [ricks gave the 
impression of understanding. Eliza couldn't 
communicate in any real sense, 

A huge number of language programs simi- 
lar to Eliza were subsequently produced. Like 
Eliza, these could all produce grammatically 
correct tcxl. without really understanding iL 
One of the most famous was a program called 
Racier - the first computer ever to write a 
book! The title of the book - The Policeman's 
Beard is Half Cons Lruclcd - gives us a strong 
hint that the content is pure nonsense, even if 
the word order Is faultless! 



CONVERSATION WITH 
COMMUNICATION 



One attempt to get computers to really com- 
municate was a system begun in the early 



34 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Page 6's New Atari User 



35 



The CLASSIC 




1970s by a person called Terry Winograd. 
Called Shrdlu, this is in a different league 
altogether to Eliza and company, although 
probably not as much fun for the casual com- 
puter user who wants his or her computer to 
"talk back". Shrdlu's set up consisted of a flat 
surface Ithe "table"),, a box and a number of 
blocks of varying shapes, sizes and colours. 
An imaginary robot arm could pick up a block 
and move it to another position, while a 
graphics display would show the current state 
of the blocks on the screen, The ''robot" could 
respond to instructions [e.g. "Pick up the red 
block"), answer questions about the blocks or 
about its past actions. The program could 
also be told simple facts which were added to 
its store of knowledge, and it had a whole 
bank of information about rules for the blocks 
(for instance, a pyramid could be put on a 
cube, but not vice versa], Shrdlu was impor- 
tant from a language understanding point of 
view because it could cope with words like 
"tliis ", "that" or "it" and it could respond to a 
wide range of requests. It was, of course, 
limited to its own little mini world of coloured 
blocks. 



WHAT ABOUT 
THE ATARI? 

Of course, anyone who has ever played 
ZORK or any of brilliant adventure games 
made by people like Level 9 will realise that 
the Atari can be programmed to accept com- 
pie* sentence structures and "understand" a 
huge range of keyboard input on certain 
topics. There's even a very simple "conversa- 
tional computer 1 ' program called ANALYST on 
one of the early Page 6 Public Domain disks 
[number 10). While this confines user input 

36 



to a small number of keywords and gives 
predetermined responses to the questions, it 
does show how the Atari can be used to simu- 
late conversation. Another program worth 
looking at, on the same disk, is called MAD- 
LIB. This asks you to input a number of 
nouns, adjectives, and so on and builds up 
stories using the words you key in. This idea 
can easily be used in conversation programs 
to get the computer to appear to know what 
you're talking about. Producing random 
strings of grammatically correct sentences 
can also be done easily using DATA state- 
ments. Just get the Atari to read nouns, 
verbs, prepositions and so on according to 
some random counter and then string them 
all together in a sentence. A typing tutor prog- 
ram called "Flexible Fingers" which was pub- 
lished several years ago in Page 6 [issue 26 of 
the magazine) shows this technique in action. 



CONCLUSION 

It seems then, that when it comes to lan- 
guage understanding, wc can use a number 
of simple tricks to get the Atari to seem intelli- 
gent - the next article expands this idea furth- 
er with a simple program to get the Atari to 
appear to learn as it's going along! 

In the meantime, anyone who finds this sub- 
ject interesting might like to check out a book 
called Computer Power. and Human Reason 
[1976, W.H. Freeman & Co.). This was written 
by Joseph Weizcnbaum, the author of the 
ELIZA program. Apparently many people took 
Eliza seriously and believed, that they were 
actually talking to an analyst. Weizenbaum 
was nonplussed by this and wrote the book to 
show exactly what the program was all about 
and also to make the case that some things 
should not be done by computers at all! # 



Page 6's New Atari User 




Z09^E 



Welcome to The Classic FD Zone Autumn 
fair. I'm sanry about the weather, I'm 
sure ft will stop raining soon. In the 
meantime let us dip into the bran tub and 
see what we conjind. 



DO IT YOURSELF 

HARDWARE UPGRADES (DS55) is a 

double sided collection of articles and prog- 
rams that was put together by the CHAOS 
bulletin Board in 1986. It will assist the more 
technically minded of you to upgrade the 
memory of your 800, XL or XE computer. 

Side one of the disk contains files which, 
among other things allows you to create a 
130XE compatible 256K 800XL. includes in- 
formation on how to use and configure your 
system after the modification is installed, 
gives you the Assembler code for the con- 
struction of a single double density ramdisk 
or two single density ramdisks and the code 
for constructing a single density ramdisk 
which is useful for running software designed 
to use the 128k. in the 130XE. There are a 
number of object code files ready to use which 
give you the following options: a double-de- 
nsity ramdisk numbered as "D3:" r two ram- 
disks. both single density, numbered "D3:" 
and "D4:", one single density ramdisk num- 
bered "D3:" that stays out. of the way of much 

130XE software, one single density ramdisk 



by 

Austin Hillman 



numbered "D4;" that stays out of the way of 
much 130XE software, a double density 503 
sector ramdisk called "D4:" that will work 
with DOSXL and BASIC XE. You can also set 
up a 1530 sector ramdisk with SpartaDOS or 
write ramdisk drivers set up as you want from 
menu choices. 

To get you started there Is a quick basic 
routine to check out bank selection. Other 
programs load your ramdisks with files copied 
off prepared disks automatically and set up 
DOS 2.5 for ramdisk use of the extended 
memory. 

Apart from the first upgrade mentioned 
above there are details of several other op- 
tions, Richard Andrews gives instructions on 
how to upgrade a 130XE to 5 I2K whilst Scott 
Peterson suggests a much simpler upgrade to 
320K. If that is not enough memory for you 
he goes on to explain how to upgrade to 576K 
or even 1088k! 

Side two of this disk is aimed at owners of 
the original 800 computer. It contains full 
instructions by David Byrd, aided by five pic- 
ture files, for the construction of a 288k 
machine. Control of the expanded memory is 
achieved with the Extended Memory Disk 
Emulator Operating System, created by H V 
Stacey. 

Other programs modify DOS 2.5 JO and ram- 
disk functions. There is a patch program for 
My DOS, modifications for Axlon compatible 
software, a ram tester, and a pair of copy prog- 
rams for disk duplication. No text reader or 



Page 6's New Atari User 



37 



i 



picture display utility is provided with this 
disk. 

As usual there is a health warning for those 
sua! there is a health warning for those temp- 
ted to follow these articles, IF IN DOUBT, 
DONT DO IT, LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS. I 
am not an expert, and have not attempted 
any of these modifications, so evaluating this 
disk is difficult, I'll have to leave it up to you 
to decide if it is useful or not. 



THE WIZARD OF AUS 

SUPERDOS v5.0 (#169) by Australian 
Paul Nicholls Is yet another disk operating 

system, but It Is one that lives up to its name, 
it really is a super DOS. It works with all 
classic Atari computers from the 400 onward, 
and can make good use of extra memory and 
upgraded disk drives. 

It supports single, enhanced, double density 
and double sided double density (XF551) for- 
mats. It will copy files between different de- 
nsity disks with only one drive. It automatic- 
ally sets up the largest RAMdisk possible. It 
supports 130XE compatible 126K, 256K, and 
320K RAMdisks and Axlon compatible 1 2SK 
and 256 K RAMdisks. It will automatically 
copy files with a .RAM extender to the RAM- 
disk or you may hold |Esc| while booting to 
reserve the 1 30XE banks for programs. 

It has short DOS. SYS (38 sectors] and 
SDUP.SYS [40 sectors! files to leave max- 
imum space for you. It can restore files which 
have been deleted or left open. The directory 
can display all deleted and open files. An 



automatic trace and patch facility can recover 
damaged files. It has a single keystroke 
menu, no returns are needed. ]t has clear 
prompts and a concise double column display 
that lists 40 files at once. A full screen scroll 
won't wipe out a filename you were about to 
use as it does In DOS 2.5. 

i 

You can use upper and lower case, inverse 
and numbers in filenames. You can adjust 
the key delay and repeat rate for the XL/XE 
keyboard. Write with or without verify, toggled 
direct from the menu. It has a Binary Save 
that even saves cartridges. High speed trans- 
fers arc possible with SUPERMAX. US Doub- 
le!", and XF551 drives. Skewed sectors are 
selectable for even higher speed. You may 
format disks in any density. Write DOS.SYS 
and SDUP.SYS or DOS, SYS only. Copy all 

SYS files except DOS.SVS using wild cards. 
The true sector copier copies boot disks and 
skips empty sectors. 

You can format a destination disk during 
disk copy- Copy sectors and display bad sec- 
tor numbers. Copy to and from cassette using 
long or short IRG. Display the configuration 
block settings of double density drives. Enter 
sector numbers and addresses in hexadecim- 
al or decimal. Handle up to eight double de- 
nsity files open concurrently. Handle up to 
four double density drives plus a RAMdisk. 
Change file buffers and drive buffers without 
using POKEs. Copy from DOS 3.0 files using 
one or two drives and wild cards. 

Also included is SUPERBIN, a compact boot 
program which displays a menu of binary files 
and runs them. SUPERBAS, a compact 
AUTORUN.SYS program which displays a 
menu of BASIC files and runs them. 



38 



Page &s New Atari. User 



The SUPERDOS disk contains seven files: 
DOS. SYS, SDUP.SYS, AUX.SYS, SBAS.SYS, 
DOC. SYS, AUTORUN,SYS. DOCv5,SYS, 

DOS. SYS and SDUP.SYS is the file manage- 
ment system, and Is similar in appearance 
and operation to Atari DOS 2.5 for case of 
use. 

AUX.SYS when loaded gives you another 
menu and access to the extra functions that 
are used less often. 

SBAS.SYS Is a special program for running 
BASIC programs from a menu when DOS Is 
not required. 

DOC, SYS Is the comprehensive instruction 
manual which runs to fifteen pages. AUTO- 
RUN.SYS is the routine which prints out the 
manual. DOCvS.SYS is a short description of 
the changes and new features of the v5.0 
upgrade and also contains some hints on 
using SUPERDOS with an XF551, a RAMdisk. 
or a 400/800. 

The loading process differs from that of DOS 
2.5 as follows. After 5 sectors have loaded, a 
test is made for a SUPERMAX, US Doublcr, or 
XF55 1 drive. If one is found, the loading 
speed is Increased. If there is 64K (or more) of 
memory, or if SDUP is set to "resident", 
SDUP.SYS is loaded. If RAMDISK ENABLE Is 
set ON, the largest available RAMdisk is ini- 
tialized. If [Esc| is being held down, the four 
1 30XE memory banks are reserved for your 
program to use and a smaller RAMdisk is 
initialized, [fa RAMdisk is present, all files on 
drive one with the extender .RAM arc copied 
to the RAMdisk. The progress of this opera- 
tion is reported on the screen, as arc errors. 
You may abort this operation by pressing 
[Break | . AUTORUN.SYS [if present) is loaded 



and run. 

The SUPERDOS menu can also be called 
from a program. The most common example 
of this is typing "DOS" while in BASIC. The 
following then occurs, A check is made to see 
if SDUP.SYS is intact under the OS or at the 
bottom of memory. If It is found under the 
OS, it is swapped with the data at the bottom 
of memory and the SDUP.SYS menu appears 
almost, instantly. If it is found at the bottom of 
memory, the SDUP.SYS menu appears in- 
stantly. If it is not found in RAM, DOS sear- 
ches for it on drive one. If found, it is loaded. 
This may destroy part of the program area. If 
it is not found, you are returned to the calling 
program. 

At the top of the screen is the disk drive 
Status line. It shows the numbers and densi- 
ties of the available disk drives. 1 through 4 
ait disk drives. 5+ is the RAMdisk. Any refer- 
ence to D5: D6: D7: or D8: Is diverted to the 
RAMdisk. This provides compatibility with a 
large variety of programs. 

The densities are indicated by initials. Sing- 
le, Enhanced, Double. 2 sided/Double densi- 
ty, or Xtcnded density. If no density Is indi- 
cated, the drive is not available, Note that the 
densities reflect the format of tile disk cur- 
rently installed, not the capability of the drive. 
The density automatically changes as diffe- 
rent disks are accessed. 

The screen border colour indicates the type 
of operation about to be performed. Green 
means read, red means write, purple means 
format, yellow means respond to prompt. 

Well, that should give you some idea of the 
capabilities of this great program. Why not try 
it. you might like It. I know I do. 



Page G's New Atari User 



39 




GONE FISHING 

SCANDISK [#287] is a collection of simple 
tape and disk utilities, together with a few 
extra programs which were intended to de- 
monstrate the capabilities of the Program- 
mers Utility Pack and Sound -FX Designer, 
which are not on this disk. 

"The programs are Installed gn a Menu loader 
menu program. This is a neat self replicating 
menu system for up to ten binary files that do 
not need BASIC to run. It has just three 
functions, make a new menu, delete the last 
entry or load a new entry from a boot disk. 

The copiers available from this menu are 
varied and include a tape to tape copier which 
handles one or two load files with short or 
long record gaps and a single stage tape to 
disk transfer utility. A single stage disk to 
tape transfer Is also offered. The disk utility 
program has a sub-menu that offers a disk 
mapper, a disk formatter, a sector copier, and 
a bad sector creator. There is also a disk 
sector dumper and editor which comes with 
some brief documentation. Finally there is a 
BASIC cassette autoboot creator which cre- 
ates an autoboot loader for BASIC programs 
on tape. 

Apart from the utilities you also get some 
demos and a couple of games. The Merry 
Xmas demo features a tree festooned with 
twinkling fairy lights, falling snow, and a 
scrolling seasonal greeting, but strangely has 
no music as you might expect. Scorch is a 
non scoring, but otherwise working, demo of 
a vertically scrolling shool-cm-up. You are the 
flying head facing two deadly alien craft. It's a 



good demo, [ wonder if the game was ever 
finished? 

The main attraction on this disk has to be 
Tight Lines, a fully functional game that is a 
bit different from the norm featuring a fly 
fishing tournament. 

You arc on the river bank watching die fish 
cause ripples on the surface of the water. You 
must cast your line at the ripples, by pressing 
the Joystick forward, in order to hook a fish, 
When you catch one you must quickly reel it 
In, by moving the joystick back and forth. If 
your line Is crossed by the passing swans or 
the happy face hazard you will lose your hook. 
and your fish if you have caught one. Another 
hazard are the pike lurking in the opposite 
bank waiting to grab your fish from your line, 
one is big and slow, the other small and fast 
You have five hooks with which to catch the 
highest poundage. The big fish lie on the far 
bank of course. The only thing I am not so 
keen on is the music, which can thankfully be 
silenced by the space bar. 

Exterminator is another game and is the 
final entry on the menu, but It will not run, I 
suspect the disk was full up, 

RATINGS 

HARDWARE UPGRADES (OS55) ??% 
SUPERDOS v5.0 (#169) 90% 
SCANDISK (#287) 60% 

Fm sony about the rain, I hope it did not 
spoil your enjoymerrt too much, and that 
you will be back again next issue. • 



40 



Page 6's New Atari User 



<B& ACCESSOR 'SUM 



NEW PD LIBRARY ADDITIONS 



This Issue we have a veritable bounty of 
new PD disScs for yaw enjoyment, the 
best selection we have had for some 
time. Enjoy some excellent programs 
that prove your Atari Classic is very 
much alive. 

DS#133- JOYRIDE 

Another superb demo from Poland, the like 
of which we haven't seen for a while. If you 
have bought denies before, you know what 
to expect in style but some of the effects in 
this one will blow your mind. The main 
loading screen shows a set of floating pix- 
els like a starfield above the the title and 
this recurs each time a demo loads. First 
up is a wobbly scroll (everything is In En- 
glish) followed by a 'Plot Tunnel' which has 
never been done on the Atari Classic be- 
fore. An unimpressive single line scroll fol- 
lows but then the background comes alive 
with a a digital Juggler taken from the ST 
(or Amiga) and the scroU continues, a great 
combination. A "Hot Landscape" is next 
which looks like an animated version of 
one of those gadgets where you can push 
your face against, pins to leave a likeness. 
Three spinning globes with ever changing 
patterns complete side L 
Side 2 introduces members of the prog- 
ramming team with a moving starfield on 
the left and digitised photos on the right 
which morph into each other. Personal de- 
tails of each of the three programmers 
appear over the starfield. After this there 
follows a huge photo (very clear) of the 
three of them which is over twice the size 
of the screen so bounces and scrolls 
around so you can see it all. What many 
Atarians have said Is the best effect so far 
on the Atari is the Oil Plasma which is like 
a series of colourwash effects in the centre 
of the screen which can be altered using 



console keys. Mighty impressive! Next 
flame licks the bottom of the screen before 
going on to a set of digitised photos of girls 
that arc subject to all sorts of trick effects. 
A set of spiralling dots now heralds an 
astonishing set of 3D moving squares 
which seem to go right back into the 
screen - a bit like those Magic Eye pic- 
tures. Several more effects follow before 
the closing greetings and eredits. This last 
Is very impressive with a scries of 'film 
stills' of all the demos you have seen. 
This is only a couple of years old and 
there may not be many more of these Id 
come. Give it a view, It really is a cracker. 



DS#134 - BOBTERM 

Here la one of the best comms programs 
available for the Atari Classic. If you have 
kept up to date with NAU in recent years 
you will know that Gordon Hooper in 
Canada successfully used this program for 
a couple of years to send E-mail using his 
Atari, If you want lo join the Internet re- 
volution (subject to limitations of course!) 
or just communicate with other compu- 
ters, this could be the program you need. 
A very easy to use program but extensive 
documentation Is Included on Side 2 to tell 
everything you need to know. 

DS#135-RIFSPARTADOS 

UTILITIES 1.1 

A new set of SpartaDOS utilities sent In by 
reader Jonathon Halliday. Around a dozen 
new utilities Include an SDX Batch file 
invoker, Binary file desegmenter, Sparta- 
DOS text editor. Directory finder, OS cur- 
sor Hash utility. Conditional batch file 
statement, a Print utility, File mover. 
Quick Directory changer, XKEY Keyboard 



Page 6's New Atari User 



41 



#fe WfiWWfSwS 



macro editor and a keyboard macro and 
type-ahead buffer system. All of these 
programs have associated documentation 
files to explain how to use them. There is 
sure to be some thing of use here to regular 
SpartaDOS users. 



DS# 136 -ATARI CAD 

A brand new computer aided design prog- 
ram from John Foskett which, Jtidging 
from the printed results looks to be a real 
gemt Although primarily designed for 
drawing circuit diagrams, the Atari CAD 
program may be used to draw just about 
anything at all. The Atari CAD program 
contains a wide range of electronic sym- 
bols, a cross between the good old 
favourites, the British Standard BS3939 
recommended symbols and those which 
look good on the screen and when printed 
oUL To allow for the maximum drawing 
space, a mode 8 screen has been used 
with single 

line resolution. An information screen Is 
available at most times when using the 
program which gives brief details of all the 
commands available and is accessed by 
pressing the <HELP> key. 

Most of the drawing commands are avail- 
able as a combination of joystick and 
keyboard controls and there arc numerous 
preset electronic symbols to help you on 
your way, To help you along there arc eight 
drawing files included which show a cou- 
ple of single transistor receivers, a coil for 
single valve receiver, an XL/XE replace- 
ment power supply, a multivibrator twin 
LED flasher, a 4 way sequential lamp 
flasher, a sound triggered flash unit and a 
square wave generator, Also included are 
15 master blank drawing files each with a 
special feature around which wiring layout 
drawings may be produced, Examples arc 
Included to show how these may be used, 

The program is too comprehensive to ex- 



plain more fully here but full documenta- 
tion for its use is Included on the disk. If 
you have ever designed, or needed, a cir- 
cuit diagram then this program is a must. 
It can also be used for many similar design 
and layout applications due the great deal 
of care and thought that has gone into its 
design. This Is probably the best CAD 
program ever written for the Atari Classic. 

FUTURA 

With the final issue of Futura being recently 
released, Stuart Murray has given permission 
for all issues of Futura to be included in the 
Page 6 Library. The first 6 issues are already 
available and the remainder are listed below, 
All Futura issues are £1 50 except Biose 
noted which are double disk issues. 



DS#72- 
DS#73- 
DS#7B- 
DS#79- 
DS#87- 
DS#89- 
DS#137 
DS#138 
DS#139 
DS#140 
DS#141 
DS#142 
DS#143 
DS#144 
DS#145 
DS#146 
DS#147 



FUTURA 1 
FUTURA 2 
FUTURA 3 
FUTURA 4 
FUTURA 5 
FUTURA 6 
FUTURA 7 
FUTURA 8 
FUTURA 9 
FUTURA 10 
FUTURA 11 
FUTURA 12 
FUTURA 13 
FUTURA 14 
FUTURA 15 
FUTURA 15 
FUTURA 17' 






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* double disk issue at £2.50 

DS#148 - FUTURA 18 
DS#149 * FUTURA 19* 

* double disk issue af £2.50 



DS#150 
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FUTURA 20 
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©UN LAW 



PANTHER 



HENRYS HOUSE / PENGON 



INVASION 
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S S TRANSJDISK IV shows you hoiv 
to transfer these: to dish.! 



COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE STILL AVAILABLE 

VERY LIMITED NUMBERS 

(Prices inc. p&p) 



42 



Page 0's New Atari User 



NIBBLER 

Disk £1.00 

MAXWELL'S DEMON 

Disk £1 .00 



DRUID 

Disk £1.70 

LANCELOT 

Cassette £1 .90 



JUGGLE'S HOUSE 

Cassette £1.70 

BATTALION COMMANDER 
Cassette £1.70 



ORDER ITEMS FROM THE ACCESSORY SHOP WITH THE ORDER FORM 

ENCLOSED WITH THfS ISSUE OR WRITE TO 

PAGE 6, P.O. BOX 54, STAFFORD, ST16 1DR 

TELEPHONE ORDERS ACCEPTED OH Q1785 241153 UStNG ACCESS OR VtSA 



Page &'s New Atari User 



43 



ST PUBLIC DOMAIN 



For the next few issues the 
STPD reins have been pas- 
sed to yours truly. I was 
supposed to start last issue 
but owing to commitments 
and unfortunate timing I 
was unable to do so. 

This issue J have the pri- 
vilege of reviewing three ti- 
tles from the vaults of Page 
6\ On the menu today, {cue 
Lloyd Gro.s-svram dialogue): 

First we start with an early 
1990s megademo by coders 
PHALANX called the Overd- 
rive megademc- Swiftly fol- 
lowitvj this delicacy is a 
generous serving of science 
fiction with Sci-Ji Show. Fin- 
ally to top it off we have a 
Jine tasting PD sample se- 
quencer ST Noisetracker 1.5 
in a rich cheese sauce* So 
without further ado to the 
red kitchen.. 

©= score out of 10 



by 

Daniel 
Baverstock 

44 



OUNDUP 



OVERDRIVE 
MEGADEMO 

(ST556) 

Is there anything more 
appealing than the thought of 
Lloyd Grossman tied to a 
large boulder at the bottom of 
a tank Infested with half star- 
ved piranha? Well, surpris- 
ingly there is, [Gasp!). A de- 
cent megademo springs tn 
mind. Does Overdrive satisfy 
my gluttonous appetite? 
Read on.,. 

The advantage with a 
megademo is that it at least 
guarantees you a few gems 
amongst all that program- 
ming- Overdrive boasts 16 
dcrnos although only 13 
worked, one deciding that my 
STe was too grand for it, 
while the others presented 
me with blank screens. 
Nevertheless out of the 13 
available there are some de- 
cent ones to be seen. 

The majority of the demos 
are one screen text scrollers 
with additional graphics and 
special effects. Unfortunately 
the majority of them are also 
accompanied by music of the 
wobbly chip variety that Is 
fruslratingly used In place of 
decent sample -sequenced 
Page 6's New Atari User 



music found in most ST 
demos and software. 

The disk boots through to 
the Amiga hand/ disk intro 
Amiga 500 owners will be 
familiar with, which Is then 
shot off the screen by a gun 
toting bloke on a two legged 
animal, [a bit like Luke Sky- 
walker in The Empire Strikes 
Back]. 

The loading screens are an 
onscreen jumble of colourful 
text scrollers and another 
screen with credits for the 
demo currently loading. The 
accompanying chip music 
could be described as a cross 
between a muffled rave and 
police sirens. 

The menu for choosing to 
view the 16 demos is the 
same idea as the excellent 
Unity megademo on the 8 -bit 
- a 2-D horizontal side scroll- 
ing platform style level using 
some colourful space theme d 
graphics and sprites provides 
an interface for demo selec- 
tion. You control a small red 
space craft as it navigates 
through a level comprised of 
metal panels and pipe struc- 
tures, gun turrets and so 
forth. You pilot the craft to 
the named demo viewing It by 
landing on a platform and 
entering a doorway or hole in 
the wall. 



The demos available are; 
Blggy Sprite £, Ugly Screen, 
Dragon, Beat Dis. Oh No. 
D.l.S (Dots in space, also 
seen by pressing reset) , Snir- 
kel (doesn't work on my STe], 
Nlbblebcnder (same result as 
Snlrkel demo). Sync Over- 
landers, Times, Bitmap 
Mania, Snuxkcl, Fullscreen 
(ST only]. Music Box and fin- 
ally Bouncing Balls. 

As mentioned, the most 
common element throughout 
the demos is the text scroller. 
1 often wonder why this is the 
norm. 1 don't know about you 
but 1 don't particularly collect 
demos to read their scrolls. 
This is a shame really as I 
would like to see more 
graphic and music effects 
Instead. 

Btggy Sprite 2 is the 

first scroller infested culprit. 
Three identical white hori- 
zontal texts on a black back- 
ground with the letters spell- 
ing VECTOR in a large blue 
font chasing each other 
around the screen, and a 
large P! lAl.AMX logo moving 
steadily up and down the 
screen. Well drawn graphics 
here with an average chip 
music. 

Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall © 

Ugly screen has some 
eerily haunting chip music 
with an Impressive hi-res col- 
our PHALANX logo in shades 
of red being manipulated to 
give various blurring, and 



wobbling effects. A green/y el- 
low shaded horizontal text 
scroller at the bottom of the 
screen shifts Its way along, 
while a mauve scroller twists 
itself around like a ribbon 
over a rotating VECTOR 
graphic. The letters of a small 
text bumbles Its way around 
the screen. I liked the demo 
for its effects displays 
although the music can be- 
come a little annoying very 
quickly. 

Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall © 

Dragon is one of the more 

graphically disappointing 
demos with a segmented 
spherical dragon jumping In 
and out of a red and white 
speckled lower screen. Over 
the top a single colour red 
scroller moves Loch Ness 
monster style over the 
screen, Use of colour Is very 
poor here and again the 
music Is very average. 

Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality Overall O 

Beat Dis picks the stan- 
dards back up again with a 
catchy musical collaboration 
of a dlgl-samplc like an 
echoing stamp and chip 
music playing while an image 
sways and flips mid screen, A 
one colour orange text scrol- 
ler m0W3 along the bottom. 

Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall © 

Oh No is described as a 
disk filler. It requires you to 

Page 6's New Atari User 



hold the escape button to 
view it. Chip music plays 
while three graphic equaliz- 
ers pulsate over a black 
screen and starfiekL A large 
scroller, a small graphic logo 
and letter move over and 
around the screen. Graphics 
are average and uncolourful 
in shades of grey. 
Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall © 

1 thought D.I.S. (Dots in 
Space], had crashed until I 
pressed reset and was told I'd 
found the magic button. The 
screen is a black background 
upon which a star field moves 
head on towards you. A 
visually impressive twisting 
text scroller moves over the 
top of a revolving 3D bubble 
man, while a 3D rectangle re- 
volves forward with the cod- 
ers names and greetings at 
the bottom of the screen. 
Good effects here with dra- 
matic chip music. 

Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall © 

Snirkel and Nibblebe- 
nder both seem to display 
blank screens for all eternity. 
This may have something to 
do with my 4MB 1040STe. 
Pressing reset simply runs 
the DIS demo again. 

Sync Is an evaluation of a 
dlgl-sample sequencer called 
Audio Sculpture that kicks in 
after around 15-20 seconds 
of a blank screen. The wait 
isn't really rewarded since 

45 



the automatically played 
track appears to be partially 
corrupted. Still, It seem a 
veiy comprehensive se- 
quencer with a graphic icon 
driven interface controlled via 
the mouse. I wonder if it was 
ever released? 

Overlanders is an impress- 
ively rich demo comprising of 
hi-res colourful vertical text 
scrollers either side of the 
screen, a pulsating scroller 
below, and a variety of diffe- 
rent 3D pixel objects from 
globes in triangles in mid 
screen. This demo is one of 
the better ones and the chip 
music isn't too bad either. 
Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall © 

Times starts off with a 
newspaper unravelling top id 
bottom In black and white. 
Something about the coders 
is detailed here. Pressing 
space moves to a screen with 
a scrolling grey panelled 
background and two pink 
spherical chains intertwining 
in mid screen over a bland 
GHOST logo graphic. There is 
also a small one letter text 
scroller top right of the 
screen. Don't even try to read 
this one. Average chip music. 
Music @ Graphics © Effects © 
Originality Oveiatll © 

Bitmap Mania is a scroll 
readers hell, with several text 
scrollers moving in many 
directions simultaneously. A 
colourful array is used but 
avid scroll readers be warned 

46 



you may lose your sight and 
sanity upon viewing this 
demo. 

Music © Graphics © Effects 
Originality Overall © 

Srturkel is the first demo 
with a really decent dlgi sam- 
ple music track, even Jf it Is a 
little repetitive. Pink balls 

swirl toward the screen with 
a yellow wayy te*t scroller 
that you can control via left/ 
right cursor and the insert 
and clr home keys. Another 
vision killer on the higher 
settings. 

Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall © 

Music box is quite odd. It 
is simply a screen of dials to 
which various Instruments 
are assigned, though no sam- 
ples are apparent since chip 
music from previous demos 
is used. The dials jiggle about 
and three animated speakers 
pound to the beats'. Wiggling 
the mouse a little seems to 
change the song played with 
the subtlety of a dodgy record 
player. I didn't think much of 
the graphics cither and soon 
lost interest. 

Music © Graphics © Effects & 
Originality © Overall © 

The last demo is Bouncing 
Balls. Initially two lines of 
red and blue balls cover the 
screen as they bounce of the 
screen's borders. As soon as 
it fills tip, the demo kicks in 
with a 3D ball text floating 
mid screen over a yellow star- 
Pope 6's New Atari User 



field, reflecting in a blue 
shaded lower screen to good 
effect. The same music as in 
the D.LS demo plays. 

Music © Graphics © Effects © 
Originality © Overall @ 

Overall the Overdrive 
megademo has its pros and 
cons, but in the end despite 
the: numerous text scrollers 
and the average chip music 
tracks, it is worth having for 
the few good demos, the in- 
novative-menu interface, and 
digi music track. 



Final Score 



© 



SCI-FI SHOW 

(ST 193) 

Tills PD disk is simply a col- 
lection of DEGAS formal art 
pictures of TV science fiction 
shows, either hand drawn or 
scanned and in colour or grey 
scale. Most were created be- 
tween 1986 and 1990, 
The disk boots to a personal- 
ised desktop with a grey scale 
picture of what I assume to 
be the Enterprise from Star 
Trek with the curious addi- 
tion of a small scanned pic- 
ture of the programmer who 
appears to have green skin 
and a toupee! What's more 
his name is NOD! 
You have two programs at 
your disposal. The first is cal- 
led LEATHER2TOS, which 
simply adds chip music to 



the desktop, while the Degas 
viewer itself is SHOWPIC2. 
The options given when you 
run the latter allow you to 
view the pictures, show 
blocks, (I didn't get to find 
out what this actually did), 
and view the picture file- 
names. You can select one or 
more before viewing the pic- 
tures. You can also choose 
the drive from which the pic- 
ture loads from, drives A to P. 
Useful if you have a hard 
drive with many images. 
The pictures load on screen 
in a slide show format allow- 
ing you to control the delay 
before the next loads with the 
function keys. F3 seemed to 
be the right speed giving 
around eight seconds of view- 
ing, while F10 seems to delay 
loading for a day or two! 
Olher functions during the 
slide show include space to 
pause, help to return to the 
options screen, and undo to 
return to the desktop. 

The pictures themselves 
cover an assortment, of diffe- 
rent TV shows, with a total of 
around 25 to view. Star Trek, 
Star Trek: The Next Genera- 
tion. Thundcrblrds. Dr Who, 
and Star Wars feature pre- 
dominantly with occasional 
appearances from 70 's shows 
like Blakes 7 and comic book 
characters like Judge Dredd. 

The quality of the pictures 
varies dramatically. The hand 
drawn pictures are I have to 
say, appalling for an ST, The 
scanned images, especially 



trie Thundcrbird grey scales 
are probably the best of the 
collection. Obviously the pic- 
ture format isn't that flexible 
since the number of colours 
seems very restricted, (let's 
Just say less than 50 at 
times, so if you are looking 
for decent ST images try 
Photochrome}, Some of the 
images have even been tam- 
pered with- in one picture the 
one and only NOD features 
beside Star Trek s Dr Spock! 
Sci-fi show isn't really as de- 
dicated to Science Fiction as 
it could have been. It is sim- 
ply the creation of a rather 
strange programmer, Not 
enough Star Wars and too 
much hand drawn art to in- 
terest me. However, the per' 
sonaliscd desktop and the 
Degas slide show program it- 
self is probably worth the 
cost of the disk anyway. The 
background music feature is 
also a novelty. Die hard X- 
filians stav clear! 



Final Score 



© 



ST NOISETRACKER 1,5 

{ST4 1 9) 

This PD sample sequencer is 
for the musically inclined ST 
users who like to listen to 
samples rather than spec- 
trum -esquc bleeps. I won't go 
into much detail about the 
detailed functions of this se- 
quencer since a] I don't 
Page 6's New Atari User 



understand It; and b) I ha- 
ven't enough time to leam 
before this article's deadline. 

Nolsetracker Is a compre- 
hensive Tour track sample se- 
quencer. A sequencer simply 
allows you to create your own 
musical arrangements using 
pre-sampled sounds with 
four samples playing at the 
same time. 

Sample software Is included 
In the package, which re- 
quites a hardware sampler as 
the Input device. It supports 
ST-Replay. Pro-sound Desig- 
ner, MV16 Cartridge hard- 
ware products both inputs 
and outputs and plays via 
YM2149. Well, that is what 
the on-screen credits claim. 1 
am not sure if the last is a 
hardware or software 
product. 

The disk boots to a Page 6 
personalised desktop from 
which two programs arc im- 
mediately available: 
Noise_15-prg and Intoo.prg. 
The latter Is a small demo of 
the potential of the se- 
quencer, simply a one screen 
text scrolling demo with a 
nice 3D rotating balls display 
and a track created using 
Noise tracker playing in the 
background. Nice tune. 

Noisctracker itself uses a 
clear icon driven mouse in- 
terface all on one easily 
accessible screen. Tunes cre- 
ated by Noisctracker are 
saved in the familiar MOD 
format, (abbreviation for 
music module). These save 

47 






I never expected to be reviewing a video In these pages but these are different days and with so 
little software being released, why not? 

The video in question has been produced by Dean Carnaghly as a record of the AMS show in 
1996 or as a sort of nostalgia trip for those who go for used to go) along to the Bingley Hall in 
Stafford for the only remaining Atari extravaganza, In many ways the video reflects the concept 
and style of AMS, a sort of bung a few things together on the day and make the best of it. In 
this case bung a Camcorder in the car and start filming when you turn up, Don't expect a 
major production here but don't dismiss it out of hand either. If you are the nostalgic sort then 
you might well get a buzz out of this. 

The video starts as the 'Dean Garraghty guys' turn up at The Bingley Hall and check in and 
then follows the setting up before the show opens. As the doors open and the crowds arrive wc 
see shots of various Atari enthusiasts and a wander round the show. You might even find 
yourself a star of the show - there were certainly one or two faces I recognised! After the doors 
close we see the packing up and departure with another show come and gone. In total we have 
about 22 minutes of 'action'. 

This is really a nostalgia trip and on this basis I have to admit it works. When the camera 
swung round to the corner we used to occupy (this was the first AMS we had missed) 1 
certainly had pangs of nostalgia for the enjoyable shows of past years. My son also realised 
how much he missed these shows. 

The video suffers from a lack of pre-planning and could certainly do with an over-dubbed 
commentary (although there is some sound) but these arc easy criticisms to make and not 
such easy things to achieve. 1 suspect Dean thought at the last minute that it would be fun to 
record the event, and why not? 

The AMS Video is available from Dean Garraghty for £4-99 including p&p. A fiver is not bad 
for a novel record of a little part of your passion is it? Make the cheque payable to Dean 
Garraghty and send it to: Dean Garraghty, 62 Thomson Ave., Balby, Don caster, DN4 ONU. 
Overseas readers note 1 that this Is PAL VHS and may not work on your systems. Le$ Ellittgham 



both the samples and 
arrangement in one file . 
which can be quickly saved 
and loaded from disk, as can 
separate samples. 

The screen displays the four 
Irack details, sample and 
mod file details, track posi- 
tion, length, a various other 
details which are needed 
when editing. Tempo, posi- 
tion, pattern, length, and the 
sample played can be finely 
tuned to your requirements. 

You can browse the disk 
directory for mods and sam- 
ples, edit the interface and 
sound preferences, record 

48 



samples and play back 
tracks. 

When playing tracks four 
multi-coloured graphic 
equalizers are activated. You 
also have the option of cut- 
ting out one or more of the 
tracks as they play, thus iso- 
lating each one individually 
for editing purposes. For a 
non-commercial PD program 
it is very accomplished. 

The disk comes with an 
assortment of samples and 
four very good MOD songs in- 
cluding the remixed New 
Order sequencer favourite 
Blue Monday. 

Page 6's New Atari User 



I found Noise tracker to be a 
very easy to use and fun ap- 
plication, though I haven't as 
yet tried the editing or sam- 
pling functions. A cheap be- 
ginners alternative to com- 
mercial sequencers which 
comes highly recommended. 



Final Score 



<D 



As you con see the clear 
favourite this time round is ST 
Noisetracker. Till next issue } 
promise to not mention Mr 
Grossman Jor fear of repris- 
als. Now, where did 1 put that 
boulder? • 









■i 










JH 




S£GWS3$£^ 




This issue 
John S Davison 
marvels at 
pictures from 
Mars while 
Pete Davison 
explores 




Page 6's 



EMULATING 
THE ATARI 



I can't help but marvel at the extraor- 
dinary communications technology wc 
now have available to us In our 
homes. Even since J began writing this series 
of articles about 18 months ago, the facilities 
available to Internet users have improved 
almost beyond recognition. This became very 
apparent recently when using the Internet to 
follow one of the most remarkable voyages of 
exploration ever made, I'm referring, of 
course, to the Mars Pathfinder mission, 

A fantastic amount of material on Pathfinder 
has been made available on the Internet, with 
the best coming direct from NASA's Jet Prop- 
ulsion Laboratory as you'd expect, NASA have 
really made the World Wide Web live up to its 
name, by using it to publish to the whole 
world the latest news about the mission as it 
happens. And it's not just in text form. Stun- 
ning photographs from the surface of Mars 
have been put on the Web almost as fast as 
they arrived from Sagan Memorial Station 
[the name now given to the landing site). In 
fact, I saw the first Mars pictures on my 
computer screen before I saw them on TV. In 
the first three days alone NASA's Web sites 
received a staggering 1 00 million visits from 
I ntemct users all over the world. The load 
was so high that NASA had copies of the data 

New Atari User 49 








lUl-.^Jtrit^^Jti^tC^HmW, ERHi 



■ II.IW..IUHIIJ.UI1BIH! 

Ll-.^.V.-Vii^. , ,W 



■- 





rjj»;-.,::^tjniBigi:~vprg. 



set up on about two dozen "mirror" sites 
around the globe, to spread the load and 
reduce response time to users. 



NOT JUST PICTURES 

Pictures aren't the end of it either. There arc 
live audio and video feeds across the Internet 
direct from NASA mission control, so you can 
sec and hear the action as it happens. There's 
also a live chat channel so yen can actually 
chat (via your keyboard) directly With mem- 
bers of the Mars Pathfinder team in real time. 
And, there arc virtual reality models, panor- 
amic pictures, and sensational stereoscopic 
photos (viewable using red/blue glasses) all 
freely available for download, In short, it's one 
of the finest exploitations of Internet technol- 
ogy IVe ever seen, 

Another amazing fact about the above Is that 



owing to the bizarre marketing strategics pre- 
valent in the PC world, most of the software 
needed to access all those wonderful facilities 
is available free of charge! The two giants of 
the Web browser world, Netscape Navigator/ 
Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explor- 
er, are available free of charge on PC maga- 
zine cover disks., amongst many other sour- 
ces. The la lest whizbang audio, video, and 
graphical facilities an? provided via new "plug- 
in" software features. These integrate directly 
into the Web browser, usually available via 
free download from the Internet using the 
Web browser itself. 
So what's all this got to do with Atari? Well, 
to be honest, not a lot, as most of the above is 
only available using IBM PC based systems. 
However, this column Is as much about the 
Internet as it is about Atari, so I felt 1 Just had 
to include the above to ind irate the current 
state of the art. 1 can only look wistfully at my 
old Atari ST and 13QXE and think, "if onlv. ..". 



50 



Page 6's Weio Atari User 




ATARI EMULATION 

You may not expect it, but there is a positive 
link between the Atari and PC worlds, 1 re- 
cently received an e-mail note from Paulo 
Rodrigues of Portugal. He has two 130XE 
systems which no longer work, so decided to 
use an Atari emulator on his IBM PC to ran 
his old 8 -bit software. Pete, my younger son 
and avid fan of both Mart and PC computers, 
became fascinated by this idea, so decided to 
investigate it himself. Pete also wanted to 
write something for NAU, SO I'll now hand 
over the rest of this article to him to tell you 
□bout his findings- All yours, Pete.., 

The Atari Classic scene may have slowed 
down in recent years, especially with the ad- 
vent of more powerful machines such as the 
PC. but the popularity of Atari's original won- 
der-machines remains strong on the Internet, 
One of the most popular topics under discus- 
sion seems to be emulation, i.e. running na- 
tive Atari 8 -bit software on no n- Atari 
machines such as the IBM PC, and with the 
ever-increasing power of PCs, software emula- 
tors can finally do Justice to the original Atari 
systems- The emulators I looked at werei "PC 
Xformer " (a PC version of an older ST 8-bit 
emulator), and "XL- 111" (written by a German 
computer science student, who sadly no lon- 
ger appears to support the program). You can 
download free versions of them from the In- 
ternet as compressed ("zipped 1 ") packages of 
files (a.k.a. file archives) . Roth emulators re- 
quire a minimum of a 386 processor, but a 
Pentium (the faster the better) is re-commen- 
ded. Both run under MS-DOS and require 
VGA graphics. XL-It! needs a Sound- Blaster 
compatible sound card for sound emulation. 

As well as the emulator program itself you 
also need the Atari "ROM Images". Basically, 
everything which was "built-in" to the Atari's 
ROM - such as BASIC - has been somehow 

'ripped out" of the machine and turned into 
files. Only PC Xformer includes these files in 

Page cT's Ne 




The famous Atari walking robot demo 
running under XL-it! on an IBM PC 

its archive - XL-ltl is supplied "bare" -you 

have to find and retrieve the ROMs yourself 
(or get them from the PC Xformer archive). 

PC Xformer comes in a 565 K zip file, which 
includes an MS-DOS version of Xformer ver- 
sion 3,$0, seven "disk images" (more on these 
later), and the Atari ROM files, XL-It! comes 
in a 335K zip file and only includes an MS- 
DOS version of the program (an early version, 
but fully functional). 

Emulators ran work in two different ways. 
By using a special cable you can connect your 
Atari disk drive to the PC and run programs 
on the PC directly from the original Atari 
disks, Or. if like me, you don't have the cable, 
you can run programs instead from specially 
created "disk images", which you load into 
your PC's disk drive. These are relatively 
small files which, in turn, contain all the files 
originally on a particular 8-bit diskette. For 
example, PC Xformer includes a file called 
ANALOGS l.XFD. This file is an "image" of an 
old Issue disk from Analog magazine Issue 5 1 . 
By telling the emulator to load this image 
from the PC disk drive into a 'Virtual disk 
drive" and [.hen switching on your "virtual 
Atari" , the programs within the disk image 
can be run. Disk images tend to be in one of 
two formats - either .XFD files or -ATR files. 
Both of the emulators 1 looked at support 
both formats. 

w Atari User 5 1 




XL-It! 



XL-It! was the first emulator I tried- Upon 
startup, you are presented with a basic user 
Interface. This features menus to load disk 
images and little else at present. Having 
chosen a disk 
image, you click 
the "Start!" option 
In the "System" 
menu. At this 
point, there is a 
pause, and then... 
the familiar blue 
Atari screen 
appears! Every- 
thing works as it 
should - typing 
"DOS" launches 
DOS 2.5; doing 
something silly 
launches vou into 



DISK OPEmniMG SVSTEH II VERSION 
COPYRIGHT ±9B4 ATARI CORP. 



A. DISK DlttLCTOHY I. 

B. RUN CflBTBtPCE J, 

C. Cnplf FtLE K. 
O, DELETE FKLE tS) L. 
t. HtNfiMf FILE. M. 

F. LOCK FILE K . 

G. UNLOCK FILE O. 
H. UNITE »OS FILES P. 



■iFt-FCT ITEM OH |:IAJII:HJ FOB MENU 



Atari DOS 2M main, menu 
- running on an IBM PC under XL-IU 

the "Self-Test" screen; and bad disks fill the 
screen with the immortal words 'BOOT 
ERROR'. 

XL-It! H s major selling point is its amazing 
sound support. It offers excellent emulation of 
the Atari's POKEY sound chip through the 
use of digitised samples from the original sys- 
tem. Anyone with a Sound Blaster sound card 
in their PC can hear the sounds in all their 
glory. To test this out, I experimented with the 
SOUND statements In BASIC. Sure enough, it 
made the expected noises. 

XL-It! also handles all the GTIA modes, Play- 
er-Missile graphics, Display- List Interrupts - 
in other words, almost anything the original 
8-bit could do. The author reckons that 
90-95% of all Atari Classic software should 
run on the system - and most of the software 
1 tried worked perfectly. All the BASIC prog- 
rams on Xformcr's Analog disk-Images work- 
ed fine, as did the classic Atari Demo (remem- 
ber this? The walking robot, the Hying space- 
ship.,, impressive stuff!], 
^2 Page 6's New Atari User 



Unfortunately, the author of XL-It! is no lon- 
ger supporting the program, and it has now 
become difficult to find. This is a great shame, 
because from what I've seen XL-It! is a good 
emulator - it runs at high speed and has an 
excellent success rate. For example, every 
BASIC program f tried worked perfectly. Most 

machine-code 
programs I tried 
ran perfectly too - 
nr nearly so. For 
instance, the clas- 
sic "Rescue On 
Fractalus" came 
close to working 
correctly. 

Annoyingly! every- 
thing except the 
keyboard com- 
mands worked - 
This meant you 
couldn't land your 
ship and so on 



FORMAT DISK 
DUPLICATE DISK 
BIHARV SfiUK 

BINARY LOP& 
run or AOORESS 
CREATE HEM.SAU 
DUPl ICATF Fir F. 

r-uHMrtf smcLt 



and thus defeated the object of the game! 
Most unfortunate- "Plastron" however, worked 
wonderfully. 



PC Xf ormer 

PC Xformcr is the latest incarnation of a 
well-known and respected emulator, It has 
been around for several years on various plat- 
forms. Version 3.60 is available as freeware 
and is the last MS-DOS version of the emula- 
tor. More recent versions are shareware (re- 
quiring a registration feel and only work 
under Windows 95. Xformer's list of features 
is almost as Impressive as XL-ltl's. It handles 
all the usual features - DLTs, Player- Missiles 
and apparently has limited sound support. 
However, I had great problems getting any 
sounds to play. Experimenting with SOUND 
statements didn't work, for example. 

Xformcr comes with seven disk images. They 




Atari BASIC 

running via 

XL-It! 

- listing a 

program 



stopped ar line; 384 

LIST 

i REM I 

J GRAPHICS COi4TS:HSl8SJ,S8B)iZ=flSC«T 
S(C&,C631 :QPEN teS^CS^CC-Ss-SGOSUB &!P 
OKE 7B3.C4 
3 POSITION Q0,l-f: J > »CZI ""1 ■ . V ;". ;■•„_ ^ 



42S6, 152 IPOKE C16, 112: POKE 5J774, 11Z ! G 

5 POKE €710, Ctt iPOKE C709 , C14 ! RETURN 
I POKE C79? C14;P0KE C7lO , 148 i RETURN 
7 FOR I^CO TO) C12 STEP C4l Xl = U5BtflDB (F 

B &j. = L(SRtrtr>RCF$> ,cm ;Ki=USR£«RtFSl *C 

9 ioUND CG,25,C10,C±S:FO« I=C1 TO C4 ! N 
EHT ISSPUNB 0,0,G,©;RETLJRN ,„*-.» .. 

10 7 "J, don't understand. Try aS*«n- 

it * "Ttiat is impossible »" : RETURN 
12 ' 



include two Issue disks from Analog maga- 
zine, two disks of demos, a DOS 2.5 disk, a 
My DOS disk, and a disk of three strategic 
Star Trek games. All the disks provided work- 
ed perfectly, aJbcit without sound. Apparently 
this is being corrected in a later version. 
However, "Rescue On Fractalus" didn't work 
properly - there was severe colour corruption 
and the 3D graphics didn't display properly, 

Plastron" worked line, but again without 
music. 

Xformer is wcll-respectcd, but isn't as fea- 
ture-packed as XL-it!. The latter would be the 
ideal choice, but unfortunately the Internet 
site from where it could originally be obtained 
now seems to have closed down. If you can 
find a copy, go for it. If not, point your WWW 
browser at "'http://www.emulators.com" to 
download Xformer. 



EMULATOR LINKS 

Try "hHpiflwww. ultrariet.com/-as molar/atariS" for 
reviews of the major emulators. It also con- 
tains links to their WWW homepages, and to 
downloadable files. 

For a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file 
on Atari emulation, go to "http://Zippy.aono- 
m a . ed u/~ken dr ie k/nb s/new_arid_emu .htm I 1 ' , 

Finally, an enormous archive of Atari soft- 
ware in disk image format is available for all 
at FTP site "ftp.hackerz.eom". I'm not sure of 
the copyright status of the games, present 
there, but they are available for any Internet 
user to access. • 



Site References 

Yahoo Search Engine 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

Mars Pathfinder Mirror Site 

Emulators Online 

Emulator Reviews 



Emulators FAQ 
Disk Image Archive 



http://wurw.yahoo.com 

http://www.jpl/nasa.gov/ 

h tip : / / mars, e so. org 

htlp: / /www. emu lators.com 

http://www.il llranet.com /-asmolar/ 

aiariS 

htt.p : / / zippy, sonoma, ed u / -kendrick / 

nb s/ new_and_emu . html 

ftp . h ackerz, com 

Page 6's New Atari User 53 




contact ... contact ... contact 



: tltCii. *Bt INAtA 4«l I'HjOUIliOfl Labtf I -jl-jf vl 




li^Eifatit^i-a^iP-d-tti^ r7n:n; 



£LLaaia22jh. .... 







PropuMon Loborotory 



NkHtHHi Airan ii d l t i t Ipoc* Jnh^il m iji , 111 



^A^: 



*&&'] 



News Flashes 

nioim::riicrt:i. unnjjf fd<:*<ri 

L-idcsrjorijfcrc: 

JPL Missions 

An xiv giadc Ec JI'L's 
nuiuctti. tnctniTiKTts fid 

About JPL 

•Ruir ^fef^jcuiii w, for 



Pictures & Video 

&>!£? nn^cs, jrtul's 

Information 

Ne»4 rdtAif S. bet ihftlE. 
xlatji Tepcitr md .TLi 

newijiper 

Web Directory 



NASA's WWW site for the Mars Pathfinder mission 



NAU INTERNET CONTACT LIST 


The following is a list of NAU readers who'd welcome e-mail from other Atari users, 11 you'd like 


to be added to this list please drop an 


e-mail note to John S Davison at the address below. 


Daniel Baverstock 


dbaverstoek@mistral.co.uk 


Paul Carlson 


paul.carlson@hn.se 


Johnny Ghan 


jcwchan@clara.net 


Michael Current 


mcurrent@ca rleton edu 


John S Davison 


1 00256. 1 577@compuse rve.com 


Gary Dundas 


davadar@hotkey.net.au 


Derek Fern 


1 01 755.2443@compuserve.com 


Joel Goodwin 


j L f. goodwin@reading.ac.uk 


Gordon Hooper 


ua558@freenet.victoria,bc.ca 


Fred Meijer 


fmeijer@dsv.nl 


Ann G'Driscoil 


annod@iol.ie 


Allan Palmer 


1 00644. 1 040@compuserve.com 


Paul Rixon 


rixonp.railtrack@ems.. rail. co.uk 


Paulo A Rodriguevs 


nop254S0@ mail.telepac.pt 


Brad Rogers 


brad@pianosademon.co.uk 


Henning Wright 


ko1ta@algonet.se 


Bryan Zillwood 


b,j. zillwood@exeter.ac.uk 



FOR SALE 



SOFTWARE: toffs of 8-bit and 
ST software titles from 50p. All ori- 
g.nai commercial titles in original 
packaging, Something for every 
laste e.g. Pipe Manis/SJtweek, SOp; 
Goldrunn or/Shadow Dancer, £2; 
Starglider/WizbaH' Hacker, £3; Jinx- 
ter , Lotus Turbo Challenge, £4; 
Elita'Slardust, £5; 6-bit disks and 
tapes, e.g. Ballblazer. £2; Defuse 
Space Invaders/Solo Flight, £3; 
Mercenary/Trail blazer, £4. Also 1 
meg Simms, E5; Jaguar and Z6M 
ROMs, Ex-mag disks, id tar £1.50. 
Write for full list lo Mr Dave Lo Light- 
on, 34. CflSlindale Avenue, Erith, 
Kent QA8 1 EE 

LOADS OF STUFF: I have a 

dozen boxes Df B-bit stuff to dear 
and invite offers. The lir St offer lhat 
I accept will get Box X for free. 
BOX 1 - 1 029 printer plus dust 
cover and manual. BOX 2 - Col- 
ourspace cassette plus 5 cassette 
and 8 cartridge games, BOX 3 ■ 
disk software, 25 titles inc. Hawk- 
quest and Mercenary Compendium. 
BOX 4 - Basic. Action, Pilot, Spar- 
taDos X and Assembler Editor, 
BOX 5 Books. 20 all about Atari. 
BOX 6 - Issue disks, user group 
and -magazine disks, over 40. BOX 
7 - Over iod magazines inc Antic, 
Page 6, \iO and Monitor. BOX S - 



two 1D50 disk drives and 1 CX12. 
BOX 9 ■ a non-working ??. BOX ID 
- Unused Ramrod and Micropost 
X2. BOX 1t - Disk box for 100 
disks. BOX 12 -Over 100 PD disks, 
BOXX - Blank disks, diskbaxes, 
disk nolchers, mouse, mouse prog- 
ram disk. Print Shop Collection plus 
Option Packs 1 & 2 and 8 other 
items, Please write to David Brown, 
37 Lockhart Road, Gotham, Surrey 
KTl i 2AX 

HARDWARE & MORE: For 

sale. 13DXE.1O50, 1029,1020, 
a&OXL, XCl 2 ■ all in good working 
condition. Lots of software - some 
very fare ROMs - lots of mags, 
manuals etc. will split. Offers? Con- 
tact Rob on 0161 439 7757 

EMIGRATION SALE: B-bit col- 
lection comprising 1 30XE; 65XE 
Upgraded to 130*64 XL; 3 disk 
drives {two with US Doublet, one 
lor spares): data recorder; hun- 
dreds of disks, cassettes, gam as; 
whote Atari User publications; Page 
& from issue 1 to date; many Atari 
orientated books; printer connector; 
all PSU and cables; disk boxes etc. 
There is a lot of material and it is 
well worth £200 or v.n.o. Emigration 
lorces sale. Regret due to quantity ■ 
buyer collects. Contact John Mcin- 
tosh, 25, HoltdaJe Place, Leeds, 
LS16 7RH 



WANTED 



DISK DRIVE: XF&51 or 1050 in 
good working condition, J, Friggieri, 

S. Dimech Street, Bafcan BZNOB, 
Malta 

WORLD CUP MANAGER: STV 

program warned on disk (prefer- 
ably) or tape With lull instructions or 
manual. WITNESS and DEADLINE 
also wanted, all contents of game 
must be included, ' am also trying 
to build up a unique home-made 
adventure collection, so if you could 
send me a copy of your adventures 
with aim and plot of adventure if 
possible on disk, or please contact 
me. Daniel Swindells. 75 Broad 
Street, Dagenham. Essex. RM10 
9HP, England 



PENPALS 



PENPAL WANTED: 16 y.to Atari 
Classic owner and fan of Friends, 
Frasier. TFI Friday, comedies and 
X-Files etc. With a main interest in 
software seeks similar penfnend, 
male or female aged 1 5+ with simi- 
lar interests. Contact Daniel Swin- 
dells. 75 Broad Street, Dagenham, 
Essex, RM10 9HP, England, (If 
possible ccUd a photo be 
included.) 



FREE TO SUBSCRIBERS 

The CONTACT column is free of charge to subscribers who wish to sell their 
equipment or contact other readers. Space is limited so we request that entries be 
kept as short as possible. Extremely long entries may be heavily edited or ignored. 
Send your CONTACT notice on a separate sheet of paper (not as part of a letter} to; 
CONTACT, PAGE 6 PUBLISHING, STAFFORD, ST 16 1DR 



FOR SALE ... WANTED ... PEN PALS ... ADVICE ... HELP 



54 



Page 6's New Atari User 



Certain program ll.^r i r iji^ which ore too long lu include In The rruiftiizi nc may l.»- ubtalned 
""^^ a f charge ax printed h^Ting.™ to typ« In. All pr>c»R.r5arri« =ure r however, lliclvirfed on liic 
l»»ut [)ls»k whioh lm aVWllilbli: With each Issue. Rememb*! this dlutt eImi IncrKittch BONUS 
PROGRAM^ which do not appear in the magazine. Ifyou would like Oiir type In listings 
pleaae Write ,.,,- telephone Indicating wlii<-Vi lietlngp F>u require. f'].-i.««- note that U»re 
11,1 n °t ncceaxiu'lly txtrs lli^tlliRS for every iiii<tf^/1 r«-, 

_ ST^ FJrQftp, STie iiM* *>*- telephone <J J y^JS J^^ J J J»i3 

Page 6's New Atari User